Cell Motility Study and Cell Wounder

Studying of cell motility

Cell migration plays an important role in both normal physiological and pathological situation such as embryogenesis, neurogenesis, angiogenesis, wound healing, mucosal repairing, epithelial-mesenchymal-transitions in development and disease, tumor metastasis, and immune defense, etc. It is a complicated process which involves the coordination of numerous inter- and intracellular events including signaling molecules interactions, cell polarization, cytoskeletal reorganization, matrix remodeling, membrane protrusion and dynamic cell-cell adhesion modulation. Through studying the cell migration, discovery and validation of chemicals or biomolecules which lead to cell movement and involve biochemical pathways can be determined. Ultimately, this fundamental process would be used as a proxy for various diverse studies.

Cell migration assay

Cell migration/ wounding assay is a common model to study cell motility and other biological processes, such as angiogenesis, tumor metastasis and other pathological conditions. In this in vitro assay, cells are grown to form a confluent monolayer and the mechanical injury (mechanical wound) is made by a scratching action with the mechanical device. Then, those cells along the edge of the “wound” will migrate toward the denuded area. Using microscopy or a computer imaging system, the closure of the denuded area can be observed, measured, and quantified over a time course; finally, the cell mobilizing capability can be determined. Besides, Boyden chamber has also been used for studying cell mobility; in which, cells are seeded in the chamber (called transwell or membrane insert) and they will pass through the microporous membrane to the bottom side of the membrane. The cell motility can be assessed by staining and counting the migrated cells.

Original Publication

A Simplified Method for Quantifying Cell Migration/Wound Healing in 96-Well Plates

Patrick Y. K. Yue, 1 Emily P. Y. Leung, 2 N. K. Mak, 1 and Ricky N. S. Wong1

Cell migration plays a key role in both normal physiological and pathological conditions. The study of cell migration and its underlying mechanisms is of great significance in various fields of research, including basic biology and pharmaceutical development. The cell migration or scratch wounding assay is an easy and economical in vitro method that allows researchers to assess a large number of testing compounds. Even though this simple assay has been used for decades, researchers are still trying to modify such experimental protocols and wounding devices. In this study, an 8-channel mechanical “wounder” was designed for performing a cell migration assay, particularly in a 96-well culture plate format. With special designs of a guiding bar and adjustable pins for use with disposable pipette tips, this wounder confined the scratch area within the center of each well to ensure a perfect contact between the pins and the well surface. As a result, this mechanical wounder produces a uniform denudation of a cell monolayer in a 96-well plate with a wound size of around 600 μm. Using this improved wounding device, the effects of epidermal growth factor and DL-α-difluoromethylornithine on the reepithelialization of rat intestinal epithelial cells (IEC-6) and serum on the wound recovery of human umbilical vein endothelial cells were demonstrated. This wounder facilitates cell migration study and can be applicable for multiple sample analysis. (Journal of Biomolecular Screening 2010:427-433)

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Product Citation

  1. Chan, L. S., Yue, P. Y. K., Wong, Y. Y., & Wong, R. N. S. (2013).
    MicroRNA-15b contributes to ginsenoside-Rg1-induced angiogenesis through increased expression of VEGFR-2. Biochemical Pharmacology, 86(3), 392-400.
  2. Chan, Y.-K., Kwok, H.-H., Chan, L.-S., Leung, K. S.-Y., Shi, J., Mak, N.-K., Wong, R. N.-S., Yue, P. Y.-K. (2012).
    An indirubin derivative, E804, exhibits potent angiosuppressive activity. Biochemical Pharmacology, 83(5), 598-607.
  3. Kwok, H.-H., Guo, G.-L., Lau, J. K.-C., Cheng, Y.-K., Wang, J.-R., Jiang, Z.-H., Keung, M.-H., Mak, N.-K., Yue, P. Y.-K., Wong, R. N.-S. (2012).
    Stereoisomers ginsenosides-20(S)-Rg3 and -20(R)-Rg3 differentially induce angiogenesis through peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma. Biochemical Pharmacology, 83(7), 893-902.
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