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A Rapid, Label-Free, In Situ Assay Method for Cell Proliferation and Drug Toxicity

PJ DiGregorio, M Zatcoff, S Kessel, I Valenta, and GR Bright

Inhibition of cell proliferation is a sensitive marker of cytotoxicity. Many
proliferation assays use indirect measurements or require harvesting
and/or staining of cells, analyzing only a sub-sample of the treated cells.
These assays are destructive and do not allow kinetic measurements. The
Celigo™ Adherent Cell Cytometer is a novel, cell imaging product that
combines whole well, in situ imaging with automated software for label-free
brightfield cell image analysis. In this study, Celigo was used to screen a
compound library for effects on cell proliferation in adherent and nonadherent cell lines. Human lung carcinoma (A549) and promyelocytic
leukemia (HL-60) cells were treated with a panel of compounds to inhibit
proliferation. Calculated IC50 values and single point tests were
comparable between the two methods for selected compounds. Label-free
assay conditions enabled kinetic assessment of growth, providing
additional information on growth characteristics and early detection of
inhibition. Finally, the Celigo system used image-based analysis to
measure changes in cell morphology upon compound treatment. These
data indicate that certain anti-proliferative compounds can have secondary
effects on cell health or physiology, which manifest in changes in cell
morphology.

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