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Open Access Digital Holographic Microscopy: A Quantitative Label-Free Microscopy Technique for Phenotypic Screening

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Digital Holographic Microscopy (DHM) is a label-free imaging technique allowing visualization of transparent cells with classical imaging cell culture plates. The quantitative DHM phase contrast image provided is related both to the intracellular refractive index and to cell thickness.

DHM is able to distinguish cellular morphological changes on two representative cell lines (HeLa and H9c2) when treated with doxorubicin and chloroquine, two cytotoxic compounds yielding distinct phenotypes. We analyzed parameters linked to cell morphology and to the intracellular content in endpoint measurements and further investigated them with timelapse recording. The results obtained by DHM were compared with other optical label-free microscopy techniques, namely Phase Contrast, Differential Interference Contrast and Transport of Intensity Equation (reconstructed from three bright-field images). For comparative purposes, images were acquired in a common 96-well plate format on the different motorized microscopes.

In contrast to the other microscopies assayed, images generated with DHM can be easily quantified using a simple automatized on-the-fly analysis method for discriminating the different phenotypes generated in each cell line. The DHM technology is suitable for the development of robust and unbiased image-based assays.
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Keywords: Cell-based assay; differential interference contrast; digital holography; high-content screening; image-based screen; phase contrast; phenotypic drug discovery

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2014

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  • Combinatorial Chemistry & High Throughput Screening publishes full length original research articles and reviews describing various topics in combinatorial chemistry (e.g. small molecules, peptide, nucleic acid or phage display libraries) and/or high throughput screening (e.g. developmental, practical or theoretical). Ancillary subjects of key importance, such as robotics and informatics, will also be covered by the journal. In these respective subject areas, Combinatorial Chemistry & High Throughput Screening is intended to function as the most comprehensive and up-to-date medium available. The journal should be of value to individuals engaged in the process of drug discoveryand development, in the settings of industry, academia or government.
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