This year (1987) is the 25th anniversary of the isolation of Vero cells from African green monkey kidney tissue by Dr. Yosihiro Yasumura.
The Vero cell line was found to show high susceptibility to arboviruses and many other pathogenic viruses soon after its establishment, and scientists working on virus research quickly added Vero cells to their host cell collection. The range of application of the Vero cell line has been extended from basic virus research in laboratories to diagnostic practices in hospitals, epidemiological surveys, and bacterial toxin assays. The cell line has been distributed to scientists throughout the world through reliable services of the American Type Culture Collection.
In recent years, the potentiality of Vero cells for vaccine production has been examined. The use of primary monkey kidney tissue for poliovirus vaccine production requires careful examinations of each lot of host cells for safety reasons. In addition, it has become extremely difficult to obtain primary African green monkey kidney tissue because of recent international agreements for the conservation of wild animals. Thus, several established African green monkey cell lines have so far been tested thoroughly as host cells for vaccine production. After extensive testing by the group of the Institut Merieux in France, it has been demonstrated that low-passage- number Vero cells showed no tumorigenicity and contained no aberrant viruses and, furthermore, they sustained efficient proliferation of vaccine viruses. As a result, the killed poliovirus vaccine using Vero cells has been available in France since 1984.
The Vero cell line is the fruit of Dr. Yasumura's toil. In 1962 he began work on the cultivation of cells from an African green monkey kidney, which was supplied by the Chiba Serum Institute, a poliovirus vaccine maker, when he was associated with the Department of Bacteriology, School of Medicine, Chiba University. The isolation process was reported orally and recorded in the "Nihon Rinsho", a Japanese medical journal. However, it is not familiar to foreign investigators because the article has not been translated into English. On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of establishing the Vero cell line, we have compiled a book about Vero cells with the primary aim of introducing a translation of Dr. Yasumura's original report. A further major aim of this publication is to emphasize the great potential and versatility of the cell line by reproducing classical papers selected from the enormous number of Vero cell-related publications. It should be emphasized that these represent only a small part of the vast amount of significant scientific contributions involving the use of Vero cells in various biomedical fields by microbiologists and cell biologists throughout the world. The book also describes the properties of low-passage-level Vero cells, which have long been cryopreserved at Chiba University and the National Institute of Radiological Sciences, as well as some unpublished basic findings on the cells. The huge historical impact which Vero cells have had from academic and practical viewpoints makes it particularly important to ensure that resources and research results should be properly maintained and widely disseminated.
Finally, we gratefully acknowledge the much needed editorial help given by Dr. Yosihiro Yasumura, Professor, Department of Microbiology, Dokkyo University School of Medicine, Dr. So Hashizume, Professor, Department of Pathobiology, School of Nursing, Chiba University, and Dr. Shudo Yamazaki, Director, Central Virus Diagnostic Laboratory, National Institute of Health, Tokyo who had spent their youth together under Professor Yoshio Kawakita at the Bacteriology Department. Thanks are particularly due to individual contributors to their original papers. We also wish to thank the authors and the publishers who kindly granted us permission to reproduce their papers. In particular, we wish to thank Jean Taylor- Wiedeman, M. D., Visiting Scientist, National Institute of Health, Tokyo, for her valuable comments and advice for English usage throughout the preparation of the manuscript. We deeply acknowledge the Naito Foundation, Toray Science Foundation, and Dainippon Pharmaceutical Co. for their generous financial supports of this book.