The development of novel technologies capable of monitoring the dynamics of cell-cell and cell-substrate interactions in real time and a label-free manner is vital for gaining deeper insights into these most fundamental cellular processes. However, the label-free technologies available today provide only limited information on these processes. Here, we report a new (to our knowledge) infrared surface plasmon resonance (SPR)-based methodology that can resolve distinct phases of cell-cell and cell-substrate adhesion of polarized Madin Darby canine kidney epithelial cells. Due to the extended penetration depth of the infrared SP wave, the dynamics of cell adhesion can be detected with high accuracy and high temporal resolution. Analysis of the temporal variation of the SPR reflectivity spectrum revealed the existence of multiple phases in epithelial cell adhesion: initial contact of the cells with the substrate (cell deposition), cell spreading, formation of intercellular contacts, and subsequent generation of cell clusters. The final formation of a continuous cell monolayer could also be sensed. The SPR measurements were validated by optical microscopy imaging. However, in contrast to the SPR method, the optical analyses were laborious and less quantitative, and hence provided only limited information on the dynamics and phases of cell adhesion.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was supported by the Israeli Ministry of Industry and Trade through the Nofar program.