Biotechnology and Bioengineering, Vol.117, No.10, 3108-3123, 2020
Three-dimensional imaging and quantification of real-time cytosolic calcium oscillations in microglial cells cultured on electrospun matrices using laser scanning confocal microscopy
The development of a minimally invasive, robust, and inexpensive technique that permits real-time monitoring of cell responses on biomaterial scaffolds can improve the eventual outcomes of scaffold-based tissue engineering strategies. Towards establishing correlations between in situ biological activity and cell fate, we have developed a comprehensive workflow for real-time volumetric imaging of spatiotemporally varying cytosolic calcium oscillations in pure microglial cells cultured on electrospun meshes. Live HMC3 cells on randomly oriented electrospun fibers were stained with a fluorescent dye and imaged using a laser scanning confocal microscope. Resonance scanning provided high-resolution in obtaining the time-course of intracellular calcium levels without compromising spatial and temporal resolution. Three-dimensional reconstruction and depth-coding enabled the visualization of cell location and intracellular calcium levels as a function of sample thickness. Importantly, changes in cell morphology and in situ calcium spiking were quantified in response to a soluble biochemical cue and varying matrix architectures (i.e., randomly oriented and aligned fibers). Importantly, raster plots generated from spiking data revealed calcium signatures specific to culture conditions. In the future, our approach can be used to elucidate correlations between calcium signatures and cell phenotype/activation, and facilitate the rational design of scaffolds for biomedical applications.
Keywords:3D real time imaging;calcium oscillations;electrospinning;laser scanning confocal microscopy;neural tissue engineering;resonance scanning