Toronto Metropolitan University
journal.pone.0253439.pdf (1.13 MB)

An image-based flow cytometric approach to the assessment of the nucleus-to-cytoplasm ratio

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journal contribution
posted on 2022-11-02, 14:06 authored by Joseph A. Sebastian, Michael J. Moore, Elizabeth S. L. Berndl, Michael KoliosMichael Kolios

The nucleus-to-cytoplasm ratio (N:C) can be used as one metric in histology for grading certain types of tumor malignancy. Current N:C assessment techniques are time-consuming and low throughput. Thus, in high-throughput clinical contexts, there is a need for a technique that can assess cell malignancy rapidly. In this study, we assess the N:C ratio of four different malignant cell lines (OCI-AML-5—blood cancer, CAKI-2—kidney cancer, HT-29— colon cancer, SK-BR-3—breast cancer) and a non-malignant cell line (MCF-10A –breast epithelium) using an imaging flow cytometer (IFC). Cells were stained with the DRAQ-5 nuclear dye to stain the cell nucleus. An Amnis ImageStreamX®IFC acquired brightfield/ fluorescence images of cells and their nuclei, respectively. Masking and gating techniques were used to obtain the cell and nucleus diameters for 5284 OCI-AML-5 cells, 1096 CAKI-2 cells, 6302 HT-29 cells, 3159 SK-BR-3 cells, and 1109 MCF-10A cells. The N:C ratio was calculated as the ratio of the nucleus diameter to the total cell diameter. The average cell and nucleus diameters from IFC were 12.3±1.2μm and 9.0±1.1μm for OCI-AML5 cells, 24.5±2.6μm and 15.6±2.1μm for CAKI-2 cells, 16.2±1.8μm and 11.2±1.3μm for HT29 cells, 18.0±3.7μm and 12.5±2.1μm for SK-BR-3 cells, and 19.4±2.2μm and 10.1± 1.8μm for MCF-10A cells. Here we show a general N:C ratio of ~0.6–0.7 across varying malignant cell lines and a N:C ratio of ~0.5 for a non-malignant cell line. This study demonstrates the use of IFC to assess the N:C ratio of cancerous and non-cancerous cells, and the promise of its use in clinically relevant high-throughput detection scenarios to supplement current workflows used for cancer cell grading.




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