Real-Time Bioimpedance Sensing of Antifibrotic Drug Action in Primary Human Cells

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Journal Article
ACS Sensors, 2017, 2 (10), pp. 1482 - 1490
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© 2017 American Chemical Society. Fibrotic diseases are among the most serious health issues with severe burdens due to their chronic nature and a large number of patients suffering from the debilitating effects and long-term sequelae. Collagenase treatment is a nonsurgical option but has limited results. To date, there is no potent noninvasive solution for fibrosis. Part of the reason for this is the lack of appropriate in vitro live cell screening tools to assess the efficacy of new therapeutical agents. Here, we demonstrate the utility of a cell-based electrochemical impedance biosensor platform to screen the efficacy of potential antifibrotic compounds. The platform employs a label-free and noninvasive strategy to detect the progression of fibrosis and the potency of the antifibrotic molecules in real-time. The fundamental principle that governs this novel system is that dynamic changes in cell shape and adhesion during fibrosis can be measured accurately by monitoring the changes in the impedance. This is achieved by growing the cells on a transparent interdigitated indium tin oxide (ITO) electrodes. It was demonstrated by monitoring the efficacy of a model antifibrotic compound, PXS64, on cells collected from patients with Dupuytren's contracture. We confirmed the validity of the developed biochemical impedance biosensor as an tool for in vitro screening of antifibrotic compounds and provided quantitative information on subcellular influences of the examined chemical molecules using correlative microscopy analyses that monitor the average cell area, cell morphology, and the amount and directionality of the deposited extracellular matrix protein collagen and measurement of cytosolic Ca2+ changes.
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