Intercellular heterogeneity is a key factor in a variety of core cellular processes including proliferation, stimulus response, carcinogenesis, and drug resistance. However, cell-to-cell variability studies at trie single-cell level have been hampered by the lack of enabling experimental techniques. We present a measurement platform that features the capability to quantify oxygen consumption rates of individual, non-interacting and interacting cells under normoxic and hypoxic conditions. It is based on real-time concentration measurements of metabolites of interest by means of extracellular optical sensors in cell-isolating microwells of subnanoliter volume. We present the results of a series of measurements of oxygen consumption rates (OCRs) of individual non-interacting and interacting human epithelial cells. We measured the effects of cell-to-cell interactions by using the system's capability to isolate two and three cells in a single well. The major advantages of the approach are: 1. ratiometric, intensity-based characterization of the metabolic phenotype at the single-cell level, 2. minimal invasiveness due to the distant positioning of sensors, and 3. ability to study the effects of cell-cell interactions on cellular respiration rates.
- Cell-cell interactions
- Optical sensing
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
- Biomedical Engineering