Title: Evaluation of electric cell-substrate impedance sensing for the detection of nanomaterial toxicity

Authors: Erin McAuley, Bhavana Mohanraj, Theresa Phamduy, George E. Plopper, David T. Corr, Douglas B. Chrisey

Addresses: Biology Department, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 43 Eagle Street, Troy, NY 12180, USA. ' Biomedical Engineering Department, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 83 14th Street, Troy, NY 12180, USA. ' Biomedical Engineering Department, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 83 14th Street, Troy, NY 12180, USA. ' Department of Biology, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, CBIS 2115, 110 8th Street, Troy, NY 12180, USA. ' Biomedical Engineering Department, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, JEC 7049 7th Fl., 110 8th Street, Troy, NY 12180, USA. ' Materials Science and Engineering Department, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, MRC 1st Fl., 110 8th Street, Troy, NY 12180, USA

Abstract: Electric cell-substrate impedance sensing (ECIS) is an in situ and real-time monitoring system used to detect toxic agents by monitoring changes in impedance of a confluent cell monolayer. When toxic agents are introduced to cells, they can cause a change in the cell barrier function, a direct measure of the resistance to current flow caused by tight junction formation between cells. This exposure results in an immediate, quantitative change in the measured resistance between the electrodes, thus, continuously monitoring cell behaviour and by extension, toxic exposure. We have developed an ECIS-based protocol to functionally characterise epithelial cell response when challenged by different toxicants, particularly silver and copper nanoparticles. We verified our impedance changes with observed structural changes by fluorescent staining of zonula occludens-1 (ZO-1) protein in the tight junctions of a model epithelial cell line.

Keywords: electric cell-substrate impedance sensing; ECIS; nanotechnology; nanomaterial toxicity; tight junctions; capacitance; cell-based sensors; real time monitoring; quantitative sensing; resistance; nanomaterials; confluent cell monolayers; cell barrier function; current flow; toxic exposure; copper nanoparticles; silver nanoparticles.

DOI: 10.1504/IJBNN.2011.040998

International Journal of Biomedical Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, 2011 Vol.2 No.2, pp.136 - 151

Published online: 28 Jun 2011 *

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