Stem cell research

Stem cell culture
monitoring using
non-invasive imaging

  • Stem Cell Research

Stem cell sources such as mesenchymal stem cells, induced pluripotent stem cells and neural stem cells, are currently under investigation to be used as therapeutic agents.

Culturing stem cells is not straightforward, but their potential holds great promise in combating pathologies that are either poorly treatable or not treatable at all.

Stem cell culturing is a long-term process. From isolation to expansion to harvesting, the process can take weeks. Many cell labs have their own optimized protocols, which are meant to maintain stemness and stem cell proliferation. However, batch-to-batch differences can have a significant impact on the quality of the final product.

Non-invasive imaging and time-lapse imaging can provide straightforward solutions in both monitoring and optimization of stem cell cultures. Imaging modalities can provide researchers insight and control into their stem cell culture.

Image stem cells from within hypoxia chambers

Hands-off microscopy using cloud connection, so there is no need to take the cells out of the incubator.

Mesenchymal, hematopoietic, neural and embryonic stem cells are supplied with 1-8% oxygen in their physiological niche. This is a significant difference to the 21% that is usually maintained in incubators. Hypoxia chambers can help to ensure desirable stem cell viability, yield and stemness. Imaging cell cultures using a remote connection via cloud computing e.g. with the Lux2 can help to prevent environmental shock when acquiring microscopic data.

Multi-well analysis of proliferation

Automated time-lapse imaging and confluency detection

For high throughput assays and cell line optimization it is a great benefit to obtain kinetic information. The CytoSMART Omni is able to automatically create time-lapse videos of whole wells in multi-well plates. Cell culture growth rates, morphology changes and apoptotic events can be visualized and subsequently analyzed using automated image analysis.

The CytoSMART Omni is ideal to perform kinetic assays to map cell proliferation, which we use as a tool to understand drug resistance in pancreatic cancer cell lines.

Dr. Martin Sprick | Senior Group Leader

Heidelberg Institute for Stem Cell Technology and Experimental Medicine

The CytoSMART Omni is ideal to perform kinetic assays to map cell proliferation, which we use as a tool to understand drug resistance in pancreatic cancer cell lines.

Yield optimization by automated monitoring

Supported by automated confluency detection

The longevity of the culture process of stem cells requires patience and careful monitoring. Time-lapse imaging can help in keeping track of the culture confluence and any changes that occur in morphology. Especially for iPSCs it is important that the colonies are not over-growing which leads to unstable stem cells. The CytoSMART Lux2 Duo Kit can help in keeping track of cell cultures from within the incubator and employs automated confluency detection to monitor cultures closely and unambiguously. The CytoSMART Omni can scan full flask surfaces such as T-175 or HYPERflasks and can be used to inspect culture homogeneity.

Label-free imaging of live cells

Stem cells have distinct morphological characteristics and growth patterns. Being able to explore and quantify these can be greatly beneficial for culture optimization and assay development. Clonogenic assays and wound healing assays are standard assays that benefit from whole-well analysis. Alternatively for comparative single cell tracking we recommend the CytoSMART Lux2 Duo Kit.

Related articles

Are you looking for more information on stem cell types, their isolation, culturing methods and applications? Read our blog articles on induced pluripotent stem cells, neural stem cells and mesenchymal stem cells from the umbilical cord and bone marrow.

Videos

Appnotes

Cell Motility Video Monitoring - Lux2

Follow Tube Formation and Cell Migration using the CytoSMART Lux2
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Cell Cytoxicity Assay to Analyze Drug Response

Evaluating Drug Toxicity Using Label-Free Microscopy
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Cell Culture Monitoring - Lux2

Examples of the Effects of Environment Control and Confluency on Cell Cultures
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