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Issue 8, 2013
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Spatially monitoring oxygen level in 3D microfabricated cell culture systems using optical oxygen sensing beads

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Abstract

Capability of measuring and monitoring local oxygen concentration at the single cell level (tens of microns scale) is often desirable but difficult to achieve in cell culture. In this study, biocompatible oxygen sensing beads were prepared and tested for their potential for real-time monitoring and mapping of local oxygen concentration in 3D micro-patterned cell culture systems. Each oxygen sensing bead is composed of a silica core loaded with both an oxygen sensitive Ru(Ph2phen3)Cl2 dye and oxygen insensitive Nile blue reference dye, and a poly-dimethylsiloxane (PDMS) shell rendering biocompatibility. Human intestinal epithelial Caco-2 cells were cultivated on a series of PDMS and type I collagen based substrates patterned with micro-well arrays for 3 or 7 days, and then brought into contact with oxygen sensing beads. Using an image analysis algorithm to convert florescence intensity of beads to partial oxygen pressure in the culture system, tens of microns-size oxygen sensing beads enabled the spatial measurement of local oxygen concentration in the microfabricated system. Results generally indicated lower oxygen level inside wells than on top of wells, and local oxygen level dependence on structural features of cell culture surfaces. Interestingly, chemical composition of cell culture substrates also appeared to affect oxygen level, with type-I collagen based cell culture systems having lower oxygen concentration compared to PDMS based cell culture systems. In general, results suggest that oxygen sensing beads can be utilized to achieve real-time and local monitoring of micro-environment oxygen level in 3D microfabricated cell culture systems.

Graphical abstract: Spatially monitoring oxygen level in 3D microfabricated cell culture systems using optical oxygen sensing beads

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Publication details

The article was received on 12 Dec 2012, accepted on 07 Feb 2013 and first published on 08 Feb 2013


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C3LC41366G
Citation: Lab Chip, 2013,13, 1586-1592
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    Spatially monitoring oxygen level in 3D microfabricated cell culture systems using optical oxygen sensing beads

    L. Wang, M. A. Acosta, J. B. Leach and R. L. Carrier, Lab Chip, 2013, 13, 1586
    DOI: 10.1039/C3LC41366G

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