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Biosens Bioelectron. 2013 Feb 15;40(1):82-8. doi: 10.1016/j.bios.2012.06.028. Epub 2012 Jun 23.

Contemporaneous cell spreading and phagocytosis: magneto-resistive real-time monitoring of membrane competing processes.

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AIT Austrian Institute of Technology, Molecular Diagnostics, Donau-City-Strasse 1, 1220 Vienna, Austria.


Adhesion and spreading of cells strongly depend on the properties of the underlying surface, which has significant consequences in long-term cell behavior adaption. This relationship is important for the understanding of both biological functions and their bioactivity in disease-related applications. Employing our magnetic lab-on-a-chip system, we present magnetoresistive-based real-time and label-free detection of cellular phagocytosis behavior during their spreading process on particle-immobilized sensor surfaces. Cell spreading experiments carried out on particle-free and particle-modified surfaces reveal a delay in spreading rate after an elapsed time of about 2.2h for particle-modified surfaces due to contemporaneous cell membrane loss by particle phagocytosis. Our associated magnetoresistive measurements show a high uptake rate at early stages of cell spreading, which decreases steadily until it reaches saturation after an average elapsed time of about 100 min. The corresponding cellular average uptake rate during the entire cell spreading process accounts for three particles per minute. This result represents a four times higher phagocytosis efficiency compared to uptake experiments carried out for confluently grown cells, in which case cell spreading is already finished and, thus, excluded. Furthermore, other dynamic cell-surface interactions at nano-scale level such as cell migration or the dynamics of cell attachment and detachment are also addressable by our magnetic lab-on-a-chip approach.

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