, Volume 68, Issue 4, pp 1123–1130 | Cite as

Binucleated HeLa cells are formed by cytokinesis failure in starvation and keep the potential of proliferation

  • Kazunori Nishimura
  • Sumiko WatanabeEmail author
  • Ryo Hayashida
  • Setsuo Sugishima
  • Tsuyoshi Iwasaka
  • Tsunehisa Kaku
Original Research


Many cytological studies have reported that the numbers of binucleated cells were elevated in various tumors. However, binucleated cells are observed in not only malignant tumors but also normal tissues. Thus, the clinical significance of binucleated cells is controversial. Here we attempted to elucidate the characteristics of binucleated HeLa cells using time-lapse microscopy. To examine the frequency, viability, proliferation, and formation mechanism of binucleated cells, we grew HeLa cells on chamber slides and tissue culture dishes in DMEM supplemented with (10, 3, 1 and 0.5 % media) and without fetal bovine serum (0 % medium). The proliferation was evaluated by the medium improvement examination (cultured for 2 more days in 10% medium after culturing in 0% medium; starvation). In the 0 % medium, 150 binucleated cells were formed by cytokinesis failure. There were significantly more binucleated cells in the 0 % medium than in the 10, 3, 1 and 0.5 % media. About twice the number of binucleated cells underwent mitosis in the improvement examinations than in the serum-free examination. We found here that starvation induced the binucleation of HeLa cells and that some binucleated cells can reproduce. These findings might be helpful for understanding binucleated cells in tumors.


Binucleated cell Formation mechanism Proliferation Time-lapse 



The authors would like to thank Kaori Furuya and Ayako Ogino for their technical assistance.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kazunori Nishimura
    • 1
  • Sumiko Watanabe
    • 2
    Email author
  • Ryo Hayashida
    • 1
  • Setsuo Sugishima
    • 2
  • Tsuyoshi Iwasaka
    • 3
  • Tsunehisa Kaku
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Health Sciences, Graduate School of Medical SciencesKyushu UniversityFukuoka CityJapan
  2. 2.Department of Health Sciences, Faculty of Medical SciencesKyushu UniversityFukuoka CityJapan
  3. 3.Department of Obstetrics and GynecologyTakagi HospitalOkawa CityJapan

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