Cancer Biology


Protocols in Current Issue
Protocols in Past Issues
0 Q&A 2174 Views Feb 20, 2022
Three-dimensional (3D) cell culture models are widely used in tumor studies to more accurately reflect cell-cell interactions and tumor growth conditions in vivo. 3D anchorage-independent spheroids derived by culturing cells in ultra-low attachment (ULA) conditions is particularly relevant to ovarian cancer, as such cell clusters are often observed in malignant ascites of late-stage ovarian cancer patients. We and others have found that cells derived from anchorage-independent spheroids vary widely in gene expression profiles, proliferative state, and metabolism compared to cells maintained under attached culture conditions. This includes changes in mitochondrial function, which is most commonly assessed in cultured live cells by measuring oxygen consumption in extracellular flux assays. To measure mitochondrial function in anchorage-independent multicellular aggregates, we have adapted the Agilent Seahorse extracellular flux assay to optimize measurements of oxygen consumption and extracellular acidification of ovarian cancer cell spheroids generated by culture in ULA plates. This protocol includes: (i) Methods for culturing tumor cells as uniform anchorage-independent spheroids; (ii) Optimization for the transfer of spheroids to the Agilent Seahorse cell culture plates; (iii) Adaptations of the mitochondrial and glycolysis stress tests for spheroid extracellular flux analysis; and (iv) Suggestions for optimization of cell numbers, spheroid size, and normalization of oxygen consumption rate (OCR) and extracellular acidification rate (ECAR) values. Using this method, we have found that ovarian cancer cells cultured as anchorage-independent spheroids display altered mitochondrial function compared to monolayer cultures attached to plastic dishes. This method allows for the assessment of mitochondrial function in a more relevant patho/physiological culture condition and can be adapted to evaluate mitochondrial function of various cell types that are able to aggregate into multicellular clusters in anchorage-independence.

Graphic abstract:

Workflow of the Extracellular Flux Assay to Measure Respiration of Anchorage-independent Tumor Cell Spheroids.

1 Q&A 67222 Views May 20, 2018
Mammalian cells generate ATP by mitochondrial (oxidative phosphorylation) and non-mitochondrial (glycolysis) metabolism. Cancer cells are known to reprogram their metabolism using different strategies to meet energetic and anabolic needs (Koppenol et al., 2011; Zheng, 2012). Additionally, each cancer tissue has its own individual metabolic features. Mitochondria not only play a key role in energy metabolism but also in cell cycle regulation of cells. Therefore, mitochondria have emerged as a potential target for anticancer therapy since they are structurally and functionally different from their non-cancerous counterparts (D'Souza et al., 2011). We detail a protocol for measurement of oxygen consumption rate (OCR) and extracellular acidification rate (ECAR) measurements in living cells, utilizing the Seahorse XF24 Extracellular Flux Analyzer (Figure 1). The Seahorse XF24 Extracellular Flux Analyzer continuously measures oxygen concentration and proton flux in the cell supernatant over time (Wu et al., 2007). These measurements are converted in OCR and ECAR values and enable a direct quantification of mitochondrial respiration and glycolysis. With this protocol, we sought to assess basal mitochondrial function and mitochondrial stress of three different cancer cell lines in response to the cytotoxic test lead compound mensacarcin in order to investigate its mechanism of action. Cells were plated in XF24 cell culture plates and maintained for 24 h. Prior to analysis, the culture media was replaced with unbuffered DMEM pH 7.4 and cells were then allowed to equilibrate in a non-CO2 incubator immediately before metabolic flux analysis using the Seahorse XF to allow for precise measurements of Milli-pH unit changes. OCR and ECAR were measured under basal conditions and after injection of compounds through drug injection ports. With the described protocol we assess the basic energy metabolism profiles of the three cell lines as well as key parameters of mitochondrial function in response to our test compound and by sequential addition of mitochondria perturbing agents oligomycin, FCCP and rotenone/antimycin A.

Figure 1. Overview of seahorse experiment

0 Q&A 9500 Views Apr 20, 2018
This is a flow cytometry-based protocol to measure glucose uptake of mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) and breast cancer cells in vitro. The method is a slightly modified and updated version as previously described (Dong et al., 2017). Briefly, the target cells are incubated with the fluorescently tagged 2-(N-(7-nitrobenz-2-oxa-1,3-diazol-4-yl)amino)-2-deoxyglucose (2-NBDG) for 2 h or 30 min, and the efficiency of glucose uptake is examined using a flow cytometer. This method can be adapted to measure a variety of adipocytes, immune cells, MEFs and cancer cells.
0 Q&A 12398 Views Jan 20, 2017
NADH and NADPH are redox cofactors, primarily involved in catabolic and anabolic metabolic processes respectively. In addition, NADPH plays an important role in cellular antioxidant defence. In live cells and tissues, the intensity of their spectrally-identical autofluorescence, termed NAD(P)H, can be used to probe the mitochondrial redox state, while their distinct enzyme-binding characteristics can be used to separate their relative contributions to the total NAD(P)H intensity using fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy (FLIM). These protocols allow differences in metabolism to be detected between cell types and altered physiological and pathological states.
0 Q&A 10035 Views Dec 20, 2013
Cigarette smoking is the leading risk factor for the development of lung cancer. It is estimated that smoking is associated with 80-90% of lung cancer cases throughout the world (see References 1 and 2). The addictive component of cigarette smoke is nicotine. Our published data shows that nicotine promotes the production of acetylcholine (ACh) in human bronchioalveolar carcinoma cells (BACs) (Lau et al., 2013). ACh functions as a growth factor in human BACs. The following protocol is based on a published protocol by (Song et al., 2003), with some modifications (Lau et al., 2013; Song et al., 2008; Song et al., 2003; Sekhon et al., 2003). An important point to remember is that fetal bovine serum (FBS) contains a high amount of acetylcholine (ACh). Therefore, cells must be cultured in serum-free medium to measure ACh in the culture supernatant. Two aliquots of the culture supernatant are used for analysis. This protocol measures the total choline in the cell supernatent under two conditions: 1) After treatment with acetylcholinesterase (AChE), which converts the ACh to choline (also called the total choline sample) and 2) after measuring the amount of free choline in the sample. The concentration of ACh in the sample calculated by subtracting the free choline from the total choline.

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