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Posts Tagged ‘Hypoxystation’

Whitley Workstation stress toy in Notre Dame

2019 Photo Competition Announced

Would you like to win a £100 Amazon Voucher? Then you need to take part in the Don Whitley Scientific 2019 photo competition! You may have seen, or may already be the proud owner of one of our anaerobic/hypoxic workstation stress toys which we give out at exhibitions – to be in with a chance of winning, all you need to do is take a picture of your mini workstation in an impressive location (e.g. Notre Dame!) and send it to us.

There will be a Summer prize awarded on June 3rd 2019, and a second chance to win the Winter prize which will be awarded on 2nd December 2019. In addition to each receiving a £100 Amazon voucher, the two winners will also have the unparalleled honour of seeing their winning photos framed and displayed on our reception wall for all to see.

Pick up your mini workstation from a Don Whitley Scientific exhibition stand, or ask your Sales Representative to bring one in on their next visit. Get creative, and get started!

Upload your photo to Twitter, follow and tag us @dw_scientific or email it to us at and tell us your name, where you work, and where the photo was taken.


Please ensure that all images submitted are decent, respectful, obtained legally, do not infringe copyright and do not result in any damage to a structure or object. DWS staff are not permitted to enter this competition. Maximum 3 entries per person, per competition. 

Whitley Hypoxystation

The Leukemic Stem Cell Niche: Adaptation to “Hypoxia” Versus Oncogene Addiction

Hematopoietic stem cells (HSC) are responsible for constantly maintaining and replenishing the supply of new blood and immune cells. They give rise to both lymphoid and myeloid progenitor cells, which then proceed to differentiate down their respective paths to form various specialized cells such as erythrocytes, macrophages, B and T cells, to name a few. Within the body, HSCs are found to reside in extremely low oxygen environments called stem cell niches (SCN). Like all other regulated cell cycles, HSCs can lead to cancers such as leukemia and lymphoma if cell division becomes uncontrolled.

MEL (a), Kasumi-1 (b), or NB4 (c) cells were incubated in atmosphere at 0.1% O2 and lysed at the indicated times, and total cell lysates were subjected to immunoblotting with the indicated antibodies. GAPDH, H4, or ARD1 were detected to verify loading equalization. Migration of molecular weight markers is indicated on the left (kDa). For each cell population, one out of three independent experiments with similar outcome is shown.

Figure 2: Suppression of oncogenic proteins driving non-CML blood neoplasias in the course of cell “adaptation to hypoxia.” MEL (a), Kasumi-1 (b), or NB4 (c) cells were incubated in atmosphere at 0.1% O2 and lysed at the indicated times, and total cell lysates were subjected to immunoblotting with the indicated antibodies. GAPDH, H4, or ARD1 were detected to verify loading equalization. Migration of molecular weight markers is indicated on the left (kDa). For each cell population, one out of three independent experiments with similar outcome is shown.

In this paper, Cheloni et al. primarily focused on chronic myeloid leukemia (CML).

The authors hypothesized that suppression of the BCR-Abl oncogene is likely a key positive regulator of LSC survival within “hypoxic” SCNs. To analyse the various mechanisms and responses that CML cells demonstrate within SCNs, the authors studied correlations between varied oxygen and glucose concentrations with the amount of BCR-Abl produced. All tests were performed using two human CML cell lines, K562 and KCL22. Testing conditions were precisely controlled to mimic the SCN environment as close as possible. Using a Hypoxystation supplied by Don Whitely Scientific, a water-saturated atmosphere comprising of 0.1% O2, 94.9% N2 and 5% CO2 was generated and maintained.

The research conducted and documented by Cheloni et al. has provided great insight into several key regulatory mechanisms associated with leukemic stem cells as well as an explanation for their notorious reputation for having high relapse rates. Additionally, they established that the triggering of oncogene suppression associated with CML is due to severe energy restriction rather than simply the “adaptation to hypoxia.”

The Don Whitley Scientific Hypoxystation provides the user incredible flexibility as it can control oxygen down to 0.1% while providing a temperature and humidity controlled environment with ample working space. The extreme precision provided by the Hypoxystation was critical to the collection of accurate and reliable data when recreating the demanding environment that comprises SCNs. The atmosphere is constantly monitored and adjusted by the real-time feedback system to ensure accuracy and ISO class 3 clean room HEPA filtration is also available for long term cell culture applications.

Choose your atmosphere with the Hypoxystation hypoxia chamber. Accurately control O2, CO2, Temperature and Humidity.   

Hypoxystation is the only hypoxic chamber purpose built for physiological cell culture research. Specifically designed to create normoxic, hypoxic and anoxic conditions within a controlled and sustained workstation environment, this hypoxic incubator is ideal for research requiring the ability to accurately control O2, CO2, temperature and humidity. The Whitley Internal HEPA Filtration System provides a particle-free internal environment that exceeds ISO 14644 class 3 clean atmosphere.  With such accurate control and the ability to manipulate cells in situ without altering the incubation environment, research into cell biology can be performed over a comprehensive range of oxygen tensions with precision. Don Whitley Scientific offer the following range of Hypoxystations:


Hypoxystation H35

Hypoxystation H45

Hypoxystation H85

Hypoxystation H135

i2 Instrument Workstation

Application possibilities for Hypoxystation are endless; it is being used for research into tumour microenvironment, hypoxia pathways and HIF signalling, in vitro modelling of in situ environments, cancer cell metastasis, angiogenesis, and many other fields where cells may benefit from a more physiological atmosphere.


Poldip2 governs cellular metabolism under hypoxic conditions

Until recently, it was understood that the addition of the prosthetic group lipoate is essential to the activity of critical mitochondrial catabolic enzymes; however, its regulation was unknown. In their paper “Poldip2 is an oxygen-sensitive protein that controls PDH and αKGDH lipoylation and activation to support metabolic adaptation in hypoxia and cancer“, Paredes et al. prove that the Poldip2-controled lipoylation of αKDH and PDH is regulated under hypoxia and in cancer cells, most notably in triple negative breast cancer cells (TNBC).

Using a Don Whitley Scientific  H35 Hypoxystation to establish accurate hypoxic environments, the authors were able to manipulate Poldip2 expression, allowing them to make substantial contributions to the understanding of Poldip2’s essential role in metabolic function during both normoxic and hypoxic conditions. Additionally, they postulate that Poldip2 deficiency may specifically impact the fate and availability of Ac-CoA due to impaired TCA cycle function, potentially providing cancer cells with an advantage for cell proliferation or hypertrophy. Further research will require investigating the interplay between Poldip2 and HIF-1α as well as the regulation of Poldip2 expression at different oxygen concentrations – a task easily achievable thanks to the Hypoxystation’s intuitive interface for effortlessly adjusting the gas composition.

The Whitley  Hypoxystation provides the user with incredible flexibility as it can control oxygen down to 0.1% while providing a temperature and humidity controlled environment with ample working space. The atmosphere is constantly monitored and adjusted by the real-time feedback system to ensure accuracy.


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28 Years of Workstations

old article

Whitley Anaerobic Workstations looked a little different in 1989 … like something out of the Tardis, looking at this old newsletter article from the archives.

It’s interesting to see, however, what things have changed in the  28 years that have passed. Looking at the photographs in the article on the right, a couple of innovations are evident immediately. The round gloveports on the Compact Workstation pictured have been replaced with either patented oval ports or Whitley Instant Access Ports in our modern workstations and all those buttons and switches have been replaced by a full colour touchscreen display. The latest airlocks are integral and the 12 litre version (pictured on the Whitley A35 Workstation below) takes only 60 seconds to run a cycle.








A35_Front_Close Crop

Don Whitley Scientific also now manufactures the Hypoxystation range of workstations for cell culture applications. These workstations accurately control oxygen and carbon dioxide via gas sensing technology. We now use this technology on our anaerobic workstations too, to accurately monitor oxygen levels at all times so you no longer have to rely on chemical indicators … as was the case in 1989!

With a strong focus on quality and ergonomics, we think we have taken the design of our workstations to another level over the years and our customers tell us they agree. But there are a couple of Compact Workstations out there, still going strong



“A straight line may be the shortest distance between two points,

but it is by no means the most interesting.”

The Doctor, 3rd (Jon Pertwee), The Time Warrior

newdesign article

A more recent article published in the NewDesign Yearbook 2016





Contact our sales team for more information on 01274 595728 or email For the full range of Whitley products, including Anaerobic Workstation, Hypoxystations and much more, see our website at



Culturing Cells in Ambient Air is Far From Physiological

Based on the premise that the physiological range of oxygen in tissues is between 1- 8%, and pathologies from cancer to diabetes are characterised by much lower oxygen levels, researchers worldwide are cultivating their cell cultures in the Hypoxystation by Don Whitley Scientific. The Hypoxystation provides physiologically relevant conditions for cell culture and manipulation to ensure authentic behaviour of cells. User-defined parameters for temperature, CO2, O2 and humidity, plus the workstation format, where cells reside throughout the entire duration of the assays, minimise the extra-physiologic oxygen shock that is known to negatively impact cell metabolism and growth.

Numerous recent publications by our Hypoxystation users demonstrate that cell culture conditions which mimic physioxia, are essential in avoiding the significantly impaired growth rates, reduced lifespan, and altered molecular behaviour encountered in cells cultivated at ambient conditions. Oxygen levels in tissues are in constant flux; they change in response to functional status and blood delivery in the organs, and this too can be re-created in the Hypoxystation through programmed oxygen profiling.

Recent research using the Hypoxystation to investigate hypoxia inducible factors and the array of signalling pathways that regulate angiogenesis, metabolism, redox homeostasis, inflammation, and cell death, and the many other processes which enable the cellular and organismal response to hypoxia, “highlights the importance of oxygen as a cell culture parameter when making physiological inferences” (Timpano and Uniacke, 2016).

mdelogo horizontal greentext

From: Burr et al. (2016) “Mitochondrial Protein Lipoylation and the 2-Oxoglutarate Dehydrogenase Complex Controls HIF1a Stability in Aerobic Conditions” Cell Metabolism 25, 740–752

To find out more about Hypoxystations or other DWS products, please call +44 (0) 1274 595728 or email


Whitley Hypoxystation

World Heart Day: Hypoxia in Cardiovascular Disease Research

Cardiovascular disease, including heart disease and stroke, is responsible for approximately 1 in 3 deaths in the US, according to the American Heart Association. World Heart Day on 29 September serves as a platform to educate people on how to take control of their heart health.

Don Whitley Scientific and our US/Canadian distributor HypOxygen would like to take this opportunity to highlight cardiovascular research being carried out around the world – and to say “thank you for being committed to our health.”

Adverse cardiac remodeling after infarction exacerbates myocardial ischemia and increases the likelihood of heart failure. Revuelta-Lopez et al. in Spain present new data showing that in the hypoxic areas of the infarct zone, expression of low-density lipoprotein receptor-related protein 1 (LRP1) is linked to activation of Matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) through Pyk2 phosphorylation, and propose that LRP1 modulation may be a very effective pharmacological target in heart disease. Their H35 Hypoxystation with its controlled low oxygen environment creates physiologically more relevant parameters for cell culture, mimicking ischemia/reperfusion events.

Hypothesizing that Tumor necrosis factor-Related Apoptosis-Inducing Ligand plays a role in ischemic injury during acute myocardial infarction, Jiang et al. have found evidence for a novel immune regulatory mechanism involving TRAIL, ER stress and NF-κB signaling pathways. Culturing their cells in the Hypoxystation H35 at 0.3% oxygen allowed the lab to simulate the ischemia/reperfusion processes that cause cardiomyocyte loss and increase mortality in Coronary Heart Disease.

Hypoxia in the embryonic environment supports maintenance of a primitive glycosaminoglycan-rich heart valve matrix, the specific composition of which determines proper function, and as hypoxia decreases after birth, the extracellular matrix matures. Amofa et al. at Cincinnati’s Children’s Medical Center, using the H35 Hypoxystation, provide new data that exposure of adult heart tissue to hypoxia induces hyaluronan remodeling, GAG accumulation, and degeneration of the extracellular matrix in the heart valve, effects that are implicated in Myxomatous mitral valve disease.

Dr. Michael Cross, Molecular and Clinical Pharmacology Department, University of Liverpool, says of his work with cardiac spheroids : “The H35 allows us to generate oxygen levels that reflect the in vivo physiology these cells would be exposed to. We chose the Hypoxystation with its oxygen profiling feature, which allows us to recreate cycles of ischemia, where oxygen levels typically sink to 1-3%”.

Revuelta-Lopez et al 2017


















Image from: Revuelta-Lopez et al. “Relationship among LRP1 expression, Pyk2 phosphorylation and MMP-9 activation in left ventricular remodelling after myocardial infarction” J Cell Mol Med. 2017 Sep;21(9):1915-1928


Amofa et al 2017















Hypoxia increases GAGs, Sox9 nuclear localization and Hyal2 expression in cAVOCs.

Image from: Amofa et al. (2017) “Hypoxia promotes primitive glycosaminoglycan-rich extracellular matrix composition in developing heart valves” Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2017 Aug 25:ajpheart.00209.2017




Clostridium difficile studies can be done in a Whitley Workstation

Hallmarks of Cancer: Sustaining Growth and Resisting Cell Death

In part four of our mini-series describing “Hypoxia and the Hallmarks of Cancer”, we look more closely at how researchers are using the Hypoxystation to delineate the Hallmarks Sustaining Growth and Resisting Cell Death.






Hallmarks of Cancer

Resisting Cell Death

The ability of cells to resist cell death under hypoxic conditions is central to the progression of cancer and the acquisition of resistance to chemotherapy so frequently encountered in tumors. Hypoxia in the tumor microenvironment exerts selective pressure favoring cells that have lost the functionality of apoptosis genes and can expand uncontrollably.  Hypoxia also contributes to survival by inducing autophagy, in a pathway involving HIF-1, beclin, BNIP3 and BNIP3L, in which cellular autophagy acts to recycle cellular organelles, satisfy metabolic demand and improve hypoxic tolerance.  HIF-1 mediates cell-cycle retardation and arrest, causing hypoxic tumor cells to become resistant to radiotherapies. NF-κB, through its effects on myriad transcription factors, for example through inhibition of cell death signalling, is activated by hypoxia and reactive oxygen species, and also promotes cell survival.

Sustaining Growth

Cancer is essentially based on the cells’ inability to “stop” when suppressors signal an end to growth, and the compunction to “go” despite a lack of bonafide growth signals. Hypoxia in the context of cancer, in precipitating genomic instability and mutation, results in numerous inactive tumor suppressor genes and activated growth factor genes, such that the combination of constitutive proliferative signaling and mutated cancer genes leads to sustained growth. HIF and NF-κB regulated pathways involving Notch, mTOR, WNT11, CAIX, and IGF-1, among many others, contribute to sustained growth in cancer as regulation of proliferation derails. Induced by hypoxia-regulated proteins, anabolic pathways for nucleotide and lipid synthesis are ramped up and enable the rapid proliferation typical of cancer.






Hypoxia and the Hallmarks of Cancer: Angiogenesis and Metastasis

The following was provided by HypOxygen, our distributor of Hypoxic Workstations in the US – Hanahan and Weinberg’s “Hallmarks of Cancer” are at the root of the multi-step progression of cancer, and they are all influenced by hypoxia in the tumor microenvironment. In this mini-review series, HypOxygen has been taking a closer look at the way Hypoxystation users worldwide are delineating the effects of hypoxia on the Hallmarks of Cancer: so far, we’ve showcased Avoiding Immune Destruction and Tumour Promoting Inflammation and Genome Instability and Mutation and Enabling Replicative Immortality.

In the Hypoxystation, researchers working with cells in culture can mimic the physiological conditions that produce those characteristic Hallmarks. The Hypoxystation enables glove-less access to cultivate and manipulate cells under physiological conditions, in a HEPA-clean environment. Oxygen levels in the Hypoxystation can be reliably and accurately adjusted to below 1%, reflecting the high metabolism, low perfusion tumor microenvironment.




Hallmarks Of Cancer
1. Inducing Angiogenesis

Angiogenesis and tumor-associated neo-vascularization are central to the progression of cancer, and hypoxia in the fast-growing, poorly perfused tumor setting is one of the main factors driving the formation of new vessels. Hypoxia in the tumor activates the hypoxia stress response, which is mediated at the cellular level by HIF, VEGF and many other cytokines, growth factors and guidance molecules. As a consequence, endothelial cells and pericytes proliferate and form new blood vessels, which are, however, disorderly and leaky, in turn exacerbating hypoxia in the tumor. Cancer treatment strategies striving to normalize tumor vessels for the purpose of improved drug delivery and alleviation of hypoxia in the tumor are showing great promise.


2. Activating Invasion and Metastasis

As with the other Hallmarks of Cancer, metastasis and cancer progression are correlated with low oxygen levels in the tumor. HIF’s activate the expression of more than 1000 genes, numerous of which play a role in inducing genes involved in the EMT, through direct interactions with HRE’s at promotor sites and other mechanisms such as epigenetic alterations, like methylation/demethylation. Hypoxia promotes migration and invasion by facilitating the endothelial-mesenchymal transition, altering cell-cell contacts, and reducing adhesion to the extra-cellular matrix. Cancer cells and neighboring cells such as fibroblasts are all influenced by hypoxia, and all contribute to the restructuring of the tumor microenvironment. The effects of the Hallmarks of Cancer continually perturb and promote each other, as when hypoxia-driven metabolic reprogramming causes acidification of the extracellular microenvironment through increased production and secretion of lactate, in turn augmenting ECM remodeling and immune evasion. Similarly, formation of novel blood vessels enables extravasation and migration of cancer cells to form new tumors.


The Hallmarks of Cancer: Genome Instability and Immortality


Dr Burga Kalz Fuller continues to look at the way the iconic “Hallmarks of Cancer“, as first described by Douglas Hanahan and Robert Weinberg, are influenced by hypoxia in the tumour microenvironment.

Oxygen around and within the tumour cells is central to metabolism, immunology, epigenetics and therapy resistance of all the cancers; in the lab, oxygen levels during tumour cell culture exert effects on metabolism, maintenance, cell yield, and cell survival. That’s why the authentic physiological cell culture conditions in the Hypoxystation help advance research into tumour progression and other events which determine malignancy and outcome of cancer diseases. The Hypoxystation enables glove-less access to cultivate and manipulate cells under physiological conditions, in a HEPA-clean environment.

In this mini-review series, we take a closer look at the way Hypoxystation users worldwide are delineating Hypoxia and the Hallmarks of Cancer. Previously, we had showcased research by Hypoxystation users involved with Avoiding Immune Destruction and Tumour Promoting Inflammation. Next, we want to show the many ways in which Hypoxystation users are researching the Hallmarks Genome Instability and Mutation and Enabling Replicative Immortality. One of those researchers, Dr. David Ho of the University of Miami, presented his results at the Cell Symposium on Cancer, Inflammation and Immunity in San Diego in June.

Let us show you how Don Whitley Scientific can Define Your Environment.

David Ho

Dr. David Ho from the University of Miami with his poster presentation at the Cell Symposium on Cancer, Inflammation and Immunity


1. Genome Instability and Mutation

Tumour hypoxia drives genomic instability both by increasing the volume of mutations (DNA strand breaks, base damage, and gene amplification) and by diminishing DNA repair efficiency. The low levels of oxygen typical of the tumor microenvironment decrease transcription of genes related to homologous repair and non-homologous end-joining, leading to the genetic instability observed in hypoxic tumour cells. Hypoxia induces production of reactive oxygen species ROS, which interact with nucleic acids, proteins and lipids, causing cellular damage and mutagenesis. Hypoxic activation of HIF-1 also upregulates expression of certain miRNA’s which suppress DNA repair pathways.



  • Jiang et al. (2016) “Hypoxia Potentiates the Radiation-Sensitizing Effect of Olaparib in Human Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Xenografts by Contextual Synthetic Lethality” Int J Radiation Oncol Biol Phys, Vol. 95, No. 2, pp. 772 e781, 2016 Hypoxystation user
  • Doherty et al. (2016) “Photodynamic killing of cancer cells by a Platinum(II) complex with cyclometallating ligand” Nature Scientific Reports 6:22668 (2016) Hypoxystation user
  • Hunter et al. (2016) “Hypoxia-activated prodrugs: paths forward in the era of personalised medicine” Br J Cancer. 2016 May 10; 114(10): 1071–1077 user
  • Leszczynska et al. (2016) “Mechanisms and consequences of ATMIN repression in hypoxic conditions: roles for p53 and HIF-1” Scientific Reports 6:21698 (2016 Hypoxystation user
  • Timpano and Uniacke (2016) “Human Cells Cultured Under Physiological Oxygen Utilize Two Cap-binding Proteins to Recruit Distinct mRNAs for Translation” Journal of Biological Chemistry 291(20):jbc.M116.717363 Hypoxystation user
  • Haider et al. (2016) “Genomic alterations underlie a pan-cancer metabolic shift associated with tumour hypoxia“ Genome Biology (2016) 17:140


2. Enabling Replicative Immortality

Cancer is characterized by a nearly unlimited capacity of the tumour cells to proliferate. Hypoxia in the rapidly growing tumour supports immortalisation of a subset of cancer cells, the “cancer stem cells”. Factors such as hypoxia in the tumour microenvironment derail signals indicating senescence and initiating apoptosis, enabling an immortal lifespan. Telomerase, Notch, c-Myc, and OCT4 mediate the acquisition of a stem cell-like phenotype through down-regulation of differentiation genes and activation of stem genes, generating CSC’s with aggressive properties. These cancer stem cells residing in an hypoxic tumour niche are uniquely resistant to many therapies, where low oxygen promotes stemness, maintenance, and self-renewal of the CSC’s. Metastasis and invasion by these CSC’s induce the formation of secondary tumours, which in most cases dramatically worsen the prognosis for cancer patients.


Scientist Working in Whitley Workstation

Hypoxia in the Tumour Microenvironment

Hypoxia in the tumour microenvironment affects all the characteristic Hallmarks of Cancer, significantly impacting progression of the cancer and the patients’ prognosis. Inflammation and immunity are both acutely influenced by the low oxygen typical of the tumour microenvironment: hypoxia creates an immune-suppressive network supporting tumour growth and metastasis, and it induces sustained inflammation in a “wound that never heals”.

Cancer research depends on recreating a physiologically accurate environment for cell cultures in the lab, and hypoxia in a closed workstation format such as a Whitley Hypoxystation is the best way to do that. Incubate, image, manipulate and assay – all inside the continuous, reliably stable hypoxic environment. HEPA filtered air scrubbed to ISO 14644 class 3 standards, sterile humidity, and containment options make the Hypoxystation the safest, cleanest workstation available for hypoxic cell culture down to 0.1% O2.

Our Hypoxystation users are investigating all aspects of the Hallmarks of Cancer and how they are shaped by hypoxia. We review their recent research on Avoiding Immune Destruction and Tumour Promoting Inflammation here.