A Novel 3D Label-Free Monitoring System of hES-Derived Cardiomyocyte Clusters: A Step Forward to In Vitro Cardiotoxicity Testing
Unexpected adverse effects on the cardiovascular system remain a major challenge in the development of novel active pharmaceutical ingredients (API). To overcome the current limitations of animal-based in vitro and in vivo test systems, stem cell derived human cardiomyocyte clusters (hCMC) offer the opportunity for highly predictable pre-clinical testing. The three-dimensional structure of hCMC appears more representative of tissue milieu than traditional monolayer cell culture. However, there is a lack of long-term, real time monitoring systems for tissue-like cardiac material. To address this issue, we have developed a microcavity array (MCA)-based label-free monitoring system that eliminates the need for critical hCMC adhesion and outgrowth steps. In contrast, feasible field potential derived action potential recording is possible immediately after positioning within the microcavity. Moreover, this approach allows extended observation of adverse effects on hCMC. For the first time, we describe herein the monitoring of hCMC over 35 days while preserving the hCMC structure and electrophysiological characteristics. Furthermore, we demonstrated the sensitive detection and quantification of adverse API effects using E4031, doxorubicin, and noradrenaline directly on unaltered 3D cultures. The MCA system provides multi-parameter analysis capabilities incorporating field potential recording, impedance spectroscopy, and optical read-outs on individual clusters giving a comprehensive insight into induced cellular alterations within a complex cardiac culture over days or even weeks.
Impedimetric real-time monitoring of neural pluripotent stem cell differentiation process on microelectrode arrays
In today’s neurodevelopment and -disease research, human neural stem/progenitor cell-derived networks represent the sole accessible in vitro model possessing a primary phenotype. However, cultivation and moreover, differentiation as well as maturation of human neural stem/progenitor cells are very complex and time-consuming processes. Therefore, techniques for the sensitive non-invasive, real-time monitoring of neuronal differentiation and maturation are highly demanded.
Using impedance spectroscopy, the differentiation of several human neural stem/progenitor cell lines was analyzed in detail. After development of an optimum microelectrode array for reliable and sensitive long-term monitoring, distinct cell-dependent impedimetric parameters that could specifically be associated with the progress and quality of neuronal differentiation were identified. Cellular impedance changes correlated well with the temporal regulation of biomolecular progenitor versus mature neural marker expression as well as cellular structure changes accompanying neuronal differentiation. More strikingly, the capability of the impedimetric differentiation monitoring system for the use as a screening tool was demonstrated by applying compounds that are known to promote neuronal differentiation such as the γ-secretase inhibitor DAPT.
The non-invasive impedance spectroscopy-based measurement system can be used for sensitive and quantitative monitoring of neuronal differentiation processes. Therefore, this technique could be a very useful tool for quality control of neuronal differentiation and moreover, for neurogenic compound identification and industrial high-content screening demands in the field of safety assessment as well as drug development.
A novel microfluidic microelectrode chip for a significantly enhanced monitoring of NPY-receptor activation in live mode
Lab-on-a-chip devices that combine, e.g. chemical synthesis with integrated on-chip analytics and multi-compartment organ-on-a-chip approaches, are a fast and attractive evolving research area. While integration of appropriate cell models in microfluidic setups for monitoring the biological activity of synthesis products or test compounds is already in focus, the integration of label-free bioelectronic analysis techniques is still poorly realized. In this context, we investigated the capabilities of impedance spectroscopy as a non-destructive real-time monitoring technique for adherent cell models in a microfluidic setup. While an initial adaptation of a microelectrode array (MEA) layout from a static setup revealed clear restrictions in the application of impedance spectroscopy in a microfluidic chip, we could demonstrate the advantage of a FEM simulation based rational MEA layout optimization for an optimum electrical field distribution within microfluidic structures. Furthermore, FEM simulation based analysis of shear stress and time-dependent test compound distribution led to identification of an optimal flow rate. Based on the simulation derived optimized microfluidic MEA, comparable impedance spectra characteristics were achieved for HEK293A cells cultured under microfluidic and static conditions. Furthermore, HEK293A cells expressing Y1 receptors were used to successfully demonstrate the capabilities of impedimetric monitoring of cellular alterations in the microfluidic setup. More strikingly, the maximum impedimetric signal for the receptor activation was significantly increased by a factor of 2.8. Detailed investigations of cell morphology and motility led to the conclusion that cultivation under microfluidic conditions could lead to an extended and stabilized cell–electrode interface.
Electrochemical live monitoring of tumor cell migration out of micro-tumors on an innovative multiwell high-dense microelectrode array
Understanding of cell migration and spreading out of tumor tissue is of great interest concerning the mechanism and causes of tumor malignancy and metastases. Although there are methods available for studying cell migration on monolayer cell cultures like transwell assays, novel techniques for monitoring cell spreading out of 3D organoids or tumor tissue samples are highly required. In this context, we developed an innovative high-dense microelectrode array for impedimetric monitoring of cell migration from 3D tumor cultures. For a proof of concept, a strongly migrating breast cancer cell line (MDA-MB-231) and two malignant melanoma cell lines (T30.6.9, T12.8.10ZII) were used for generating viable micro-tumor models. The migration propensity was determined by impedimetric monitoring over 144 hours, correlated by microscopy and validated by transwell assays. The impedimetric analysis of covered electrodes and the relative impedance maximum values revealed extended information regarding the contribution of proliferative effects. More strikingly, using reference populations of mitomycin C treated spheroids where proliferation was suppressed, distinction of proliferation and migration was possible. Therefore, our high-dense microelectrode array based impedimetric migration monitoring has the capability for an automated quantitative analysis system that can be easily scaled up as well as integrated in lab on chip devices.