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Many protocols suggest that beta-mercaptoethanol is necessary for growing cells. It is a reducing agent but what does it mechanistically do for your cells. When would one not add it.

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

2-me is a reducing agent necessary to be added to help keep free radical oxygen from affecting mouse cells. It is generally not necessary for human cells.

Also from S Bannai and Ishii et al., 2-mercaptoethanol improves tumor cell uptake of cystine by creating a reducing environment.

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BTW, the statement about human cells is not true. The addition of bME to primary immune cell cultures, especially B and T cell cultures, is common. – MattDMo Dec 2 '15 at 23:39
Common doesn't necessarily mean necessary. – bobthejoe Dec 29 '15 at 18:01

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