Cell invasion and migration monitoring

Cell invasion and migration monitoring

The xCELLigence Real Time Cell Analysis instrument can monitor cell migration, invasion and interactions. In a literature survey through 2012, 29 of 320 papers using the instrument measured cell invasion and migration. Methods to monitor these events include:

  1. measure detachment of target cells by invasive cells
  2. regular E-plate with insert to observe influence of growth factors secreted by other cells
  3. Boyden chamber device to measure cells moving through pores into another chamber


1 Measuring detachment

This method uses a confluent layer of cells in a regular E-plate. On addition of invasive cells, holes in the monolayer form  where the invasive cells cause detachment. e.g. Rahim S. Beauchamp EM. Kong Y. Brown ML. Toretsky JA. Uren A. PLoS ONE. 6(4):e19343, 2011. This paper shows data from a similar instrument, but the authors showed data from an xCELLigence instrument at a symposium. Using an E-Plate View allows visual inspection of events.

2 Observing secreted growth factors

A E-Plate Insert is placed in the regular plate. A membrane at the bottom of the insert has pores of 0.4 µm which allow growth factors to diffuse down to the cells in the main chamber

3 Invasion and migration

The CIM plate is a Boyden chamber, described in Nature Methods, Application Notes. The upper chamber, with 16 wells for cells and material like Matrigel, has a bottom membrane of PET with 8 µm pores and gold electrodes cover 80% of the lower surface. Volume, 180±5 µL, bottom diameter 5 mm;
The lower chamber is a reservoir for media and chemo attractants, volume 162 ± 3 µL, diameter 6 mm.

Cells migrate through the pores at the bottom of the top chamber, and then start covering the electrodes on the lower surface of the top chamber. If cells do not adhere to the electrodes, this method will not be useful.