Recently a new di-gold(I) organometallic complex [1,3-(Ph3PAu)2-C6H4] (KF0101) has been synthesised and found to exhibit cytotoxic activity in vitro. Subsequently it has been demonstrated that KF0101 shows little or no cross-resistance against a number of the cisplatin resistant ovarian cancer cell lines in vitro suggesting a different mode of action for the drug. In this study, syncrotron radiation infrared microspectroscopy (SR-IRMS) has been used on drug treated single A2780 cells in order to determine if this different mode of action can be identified spectroscopically. The aim of the study was to establish: (i) if single cell SR-IRMS could be used to give insight into the cellular response on treatment with different cytotoxic agents relative to non-treated cells (control) and (ii) that if the cytotoxic drugs elicit a different biochemical response these responses could be distinguished from each other. The most striking features obtained after Principal Componants Analysis (PCA) of Resonant Mie Scattering (RMieS) corrected single cell spectra of drug treated ovarian A2780 cells are: (i) The spectra obtained for the control are quite heterogeneous and several hundred spectra are required to adequately define the nature of the control; (ii) after drug treatment at the IC50 level for 24 h with cisplatin, KF0101, methotrexate, paclitaxel or 5-fluorouracil the cell spectra, as represented on a PCA scores plot, generally concentrate in certain well defined areas of the control, there are however a small number of spectra that fall outside of the area defined by the control; and (iii) a differentiation between cell spectra obtained on treatment with different drugs is observed which fits well with different in vitrocell culture behaviour and a flow cytometry cell cycle analysis of the contol and drug treated cells. Inspection of the loading plots shows that PC1 is essentially the same for all plots and reflects changes in cell biochemistry related to the cell cycle. PC2, however, on comparison of the control versuscisplatin or cisplatinversusKF0101 is indicative of differences induced by drug treatment and has been termed as cell cycle-plus behaviour. These data are shown to be consistent with that obtained using bench-top IRMS by averaging a number of single cell spectra and carrying out a PCA, but SR-IRMS offers more insight into how the drug is affecting the cell population. More importantly, this approach enables the influence of the cell cycle on both the control and drug treated samples to be taken into consideration when evaluating the drug–cell interaction.
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