This place is too small for us

Contact inhibition is a regulatory mechanism that functions to keep fibroblast-like cells growing in a monolayer. If a cell has plenty of available substrate space, it moves freely and replicates rapidly. This process continues until the cells occupy the entire available substratum, after that, normal cells will stop migrating and replicating.

Cancer cells, in contrast, are characteristically insensitive to such contact inhibition. They continue moving after contact with their neighbours, migrating over adjacent cells, and growing in disordered, multi-layered patterns.

In this blog-post we show how Nanolive’s Technology is able to monitor, in Real-Time and without any chemical marker, melanoma cancer cell migration and proliferation. Cancer cells reach the over confluent situation and, not affected by the inhibition mechanism system, are able to migrate on top of each other and duplicate themselves.  

Mouse skin cancer cells (B16, p30) were grown to 100% confluency in complete DMEM medium (Dulbecco’s Modified Eagle Medium) in 35mm glass bottom culture dishes (FluoroDishes™ WPI, #FD35-100). The time-lapse imaging experiment was conducted with a standard top-stage incubator set to 37°C and 5% CO2 for 12 hours, capturing images every 2 minutes.

By capturing the images at the beginning and at regular intervals during cell migration, it is possible to monitor and quantify directional cell migration in Real-Time, such as shown in the graphic. The data processing was done using the images exported from STEVE and post processed with ImageJ.