Research Use Only (RUO) Growth Factors & Cytokines for Cell-Based Applications

Cytokines and growth factors are signaling molecules secreted by various cells of the immune system that play critical roles in regulating immune responses and inflammation. Cytokines and growth factors can act on a variety of different cell types depending on their specific function and target and they are involved in a wide range of functions, including cell growth and differentiation, inflammation, and the coordination of immune responses to pathogens.

Research on cytokines and growth factors has contributed significantly to our understanding of the immune system and its role in disease in areas such as autoimmune disease, infectious diseases, developing cytokine-based therapies and vaccines.

Sartorius offers a range of high-quality research use only (RUO) cytokines and growth factors which are produced using recombinant DNA technology which do not contain any animal-derived components or contaminants.

Our cytokines and growth factors are manufactured to the highest quality standards, ensuring high purity and efficacy, providing lot-to-lot consistency and low endotoxicity. Sartorius has implemented a quality management system certified for compliance with ISO9001.

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Our high-quality RUO  growth factors and cytokines are produced using recombinant DNA technology and do not contain any animal-derived components or contaminants.

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Benefits of Sartorius RUO Cytokines:

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Animal-Derived Component-Free

Our range of RUO Growth Factors & Cytokines are produced using recombinant human DNA technology and do not contain any animal-derived components or contaminants.

Quality You Can Trust

Maximum quality and safety reassurance due to state-of-the-art production, stringent control and comprehensive documentation along with expert technical and regulatory support.

Providing a Workflow Solution

Our highly-validated RUO cytokines use relevant assay models and workflows giving reliable and reproducible data and supply chain consistency.

Many Products Supported with Example Biologically-Relevant Application Data

Products tested in relevant biological models to demonstrate activity and application with the documentation showing how the reagents can be used alongside example data.  All information is available on which will be updated as more datasets are available. 

Applications for Use

Stem Cell Research

Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells iPSC Cell Therapy

Growth factors and cytokines play critical roles in stem cell research, influencing differentiation, proliferation and survival by manipulating cellular behavior and directing differentiation into specific lineages.

Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (iPSCs) are a relatively new cell therapy focus, and due to their flexibility carry some of the broadest therapeutic potential, making them ideal model systems for a variety of research areas.

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Maintain iPSC pluripotency without the requirement for daily feeds

Figures 1, 2 and 3: iPSC cells were cultured without media renewal for 5 days in a range of conditions using NutriStem® hPSC XF Growth Factor (GF)-Free with the addition of Sartorius Recombinant TGF-β1 PLUS protein (2 ng/mL) and FGF2-G3 protein (50-200 ng/mL), a thermostable variant of FGF-2. Bar graphs of marker expression after 5 days in culture, analyzed on the iQue® for SSEA-1 expression and a pluripotent phenotype.

Dot plots generated in iQue Forecyt® software illustrating the difference in SSEA-1 expression of iPSCs supplemented with Sartorius Recombinant FGF2-G3 protein.

Images acquired using the Incucyte® Live-Cell Analysis System (day 2), highlighting changes in morphology and growth associated with the different medium conditions tested. RPMI treated iPSCs were used as a control for loss of pluripotency and THP-1 cells as a control for a non-pluripotent cell type.


neuro degeneration

Brain development and pathophysiology are highly complex, dynamic processes involving an interplay of numerous cytokines and growth factors.

Neuroscientific research is notoriously challenging and requires translational in vitro models, such as human cell lines, neural stem cells, or iPSC-derived cell types, that are robust, non-perturbing, and can reproducibly recapitulate the desired phenotype.

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Quantification of neurite outgrowth and cell surface expression

Figures 4 and 5: Quantification of neurite outgrowth and cell surface antigen expression during SH-SY5Y differentiation. SH-SY5Y cells were differentiated by gradual serum starvation and the sequential introduction of retinoic acid and Sartorius® Human Recombinant BDNF. Differentiation was performed in the presence of Incucyte® Fabfluor-488 antibody complexed to neuronal marker CD56 or IgG control and Opti-Green background suppressor. Images were acquired using the Incucyte® Live-Cell Analysis System. SH-SY5Y cells developed a mature neuronal-like phenotype by 14 days (HD phase and fluorescence images), with quantification revealing BDNF induced a concentration-dependent effect on neurite outgrowth and CD56 expression compared to vehicle (serum-free media).


organoid assays

Image of live cultured organoid 3D cultured cells acquired on the Incucyte® system

Organoids are derived from stem cells and replicate organ complexity and functionality. They can give insights into development and disease and be used to more accurately predict drug responses in a physiologically-relevant environment.

Growth factors and cytokines are essential to maintain healthy organoid growth and allow precise control of differentiation into desired tissue or cell types. 

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Featured Resources

RUO Growth Factor and Cytokine Resources

Application Note

Optimizing iPSC Culture Protocol with Growth Factors & Cytokines

Effectively use growth factors & cytokines with iPSC media to preserve pluripotency, support growth & increase time between feedings.

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Research Use Only (RUO) Growth Factors & Cytokines

Discover more about our range of high-quality, animal-free RUO Growth Factors & Cytokines

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Research Use Only (RUO) Growth Factors & Cytokines datasheet cover

Research Use Only (RUO) Growth Factors & Cytokines

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Application Note

Optimization of SH-SY5Y Differentiation Using Growth Factors and Cytok...

Translational In Vitro Models for Studying Human Development & Disease

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Frequently Asked Questions

Growth factors and cytokines are added to cell cultures to promote proliferation and to maintain cells in the desired state or lineage by regulating proliferation and differentiation.

Growth factors and cytokines are types of signaling molecules that play a crucial role in regulating cell growth, differentiation, and function. They are widely used in research, preclinical studies, and clinical trials to study various biological processes and develop new treatments for diseases. The main difference between research use only, preclinical, and GMP areas is in the quality and documentation required for their manufacture and use.

Growth factors and cytokines for research use only (RUO) are produced for use in basic research and are not intended for diagnostic or therapeutic applications. They are typically manufactured using standard laboratory procedures and may not meet the stringent quality requirements necessary for clinical use. They are often used in academic research or commercial applications such as drug discovery, screening, and target identification.

CellGenix® preclinical growth factors and cytokines are intended for use in the early development phase of cell & gene therapies. They are produced under the same conditions as the CellGenix® GMP growth factors and cytokines, using identical production steps and expression systems. This ensures equal product quality and performance and enables a seamless transition when switching to the GMP grade growth factors and cytokines. Our preclinical grade, therefore, offers a cost-efficient alternative for preclinical phase when regulatory support and quality of raw materials have a lower priority and access to GMP-relevant documentation is not required yet. 
CellGenix® GMP growth factors and cytokines are manufactured under strict conditions in compliance with relevant GMP and global guidelines to meet the highest quality and safety standard for use in clinical trials and ultimately in patient treatment. The difference to CellGenix® preclinical is that we offer regulatory support, and more comprehensive QC testing including tighter specifications and documentation.

In summary, the main difference between cytokines with a research use only, preclinical, and GMP quality grade is in the level of quality control and documentation, and their intended use.

  • RUO grade: intended for basic research
  • Preclinical grade: intended for preclinical ex vivo use
  • GMP grade: intended for ex vivo use in clinical trials and commercial ATMP manufacturing

Our lyophilized proteins are stable at room temperature for 3 days, or frozen for up to 2 years (either at -20 °C or -80 °C). Once reconstituted, recombinant proteins can be stored at 4 °C for 1-2 weeks, or frozen for up to a year although it is recommended to freeze single use aliquots and defrosting these fresh each time to ensure maximum protein stability and activity.

Although every effort is made to ensure the sterility of the samples provided, we recommend sterile filtering after dilution in media or the final working solution.

As each cell type will have different requirements, the optimal growth factor or cytokine concentration must be empirically determined for each culture system. Use preliminary experiments to observe the concentration and time dependent responses of cells to growth factors and select the most appropriate concentration for your application.

Please refer to the product data sheet (accessible through the QR code on your vial or through visiting → certificates) for the resuspension solution recommendation for your growth factor or cytokine and centrifuge briefly before reconstituting to make sure that all of the powder is at the bottom of the vial. Add the reconstitution solution to give a protein concentration of 0.5-1mg/ml. Leave to stand for 1 minute before gently agitating – do not vortex as this will make the solution foam which must be avoided. You can prepare stock aliquots or single use vials from the master mix. 

Sartorius’s RUO Growth Factors & Cytokines are shipped at ambient temperature as they are lyophilized, making them stable at a wide range of temperatures.

During lyophilization, small amounts of protein can be deposited on the vial as a thin layer which sometimes looks invisible, but our quality procedures are in place to assure you that each vial does contain the correct amount.

There is a QR code on your product vial which will take you straight to the My Sartorius portal where you can sign in and access all the certificates for your product. Alternatively, access the Sartorius website and sign into My Sartorius to gain access to the certificates. 

Yes, our growth factors and cytokines are carrier protein-free and therefore they can be added if needed and compatible with your work.

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Additional Resources

t cell cytokines CellGenix

Looking for preclinical or GMP grade growth factors and cytokines?

To ensure a seamless transition from preclinical development to commercial manufacturing, we offer CellGenix® growth factors and cytokines.

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