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In Vitro. 1982 Jul;18(7):643-9.

Measurement of intracellular volume in monolayers of cultured cells.


Methods have been developed for measuring the intracellular water space (ICS) in cultured diploid fibroblast monolayers. The values obtained have been compared to similar measurements of ICS in suspended fibroblasts using an oil spin method. Markers commonly used for measurement of total water space (TWS) ([3H]H2O, [14C]urea) and extracellular space (ECS) ([3H]inulin, [14C]L-glucose, [3H]sucrose, [3H]D-mannitol) were investigated for use in cell monolayers. Monolayer incubations were terminated by rapidly rinsing the culture dishes three times with ice cold buffer. The distribution volume of the TWS marker [14C]urea plateaued at 10 to 15 min and was independent of urea concentration. [3H]H2O was not a suitable marker for measuring total water space in cell monolayers because of rapid loss of intracellular label during rinsing. Intracellular space was calculated by subtracting [3H]sucrose space (5 min) from [14C]urea space (20 min) after incubation of fibroblasts with both markers. Values obtained for ICS (mean +/- SE: microliter/10(6) cells) of fibroblasts from two cell lines measured in monolayer (1.74 +/- 0.11 and 1.60 +/- 0.10) and in suspension (1.88 +/- 0.07 and 1.78 +/- 0.11) was approximately 10% smaller than the values for cell size (2.01 and 2.22) obtained from Coulter Counter sizing. Thus, the methods developed for measurement of ICS in monolayer fibroblasts yield data comparable to those obtained with the more standard oil spin method. Furthermore, the methods can be applied to measurement of ICS in other types of adherent cells.

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