Magnetic resonance microimaging of cancer cell spheroid constructs

Momot, Konstantin I., Bas, Onur, Holzapfel, Nina Pauline, & Loessner, Daniela (2016) Magnetic resonance microimaging of cancer cell spheroid constructs. Biomedical Spectroscopy and Imaging, 5(1), pp. 41-54.

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Hydrogel-based cell cultures are excellent tools for studying physiological events occurring in the growth and proliferation of cells, including cancer cells. Diffusion magnetic resonance is a physical technique that has been widely used for the characterisation of biological systems as well as hydrogels. In this work, we applied diffusion magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to hydrogel-based cultures of human ovarian cancer cells.


Diffusion-weighted spin-echo MRI measurements were used to obtain spatially-resolved maps of apparent diffusivities for hydrogel samples with different compositions, cell loads and drug (Taxol) treatment regimes. The samples were then characterised using their diffusivity histograms, mean diffusivities and the respective standard deviations, and pairwise Mann-Whitney tests. The elastic moduli of the samples were determined using mechanical compression testing.


The mean apparent diffusivity of the hydrogels was sensitive to the polymer content, cell load and Taxol treatment. For a given sample composition, the mean apparent diffusivity and the elastic modulus of the hydrogels exhibited a negative correlation.


Diffusivity of hydrogel-based cancer cell culture constructs is sensitive to both cell proliferation and Taxol treatment. This suggests that diffusion-weighted imaging is a promising technique for non-invasive monitoring of cancer cell proliferation in hydrogel-based, cellularly-sparse 3D cell cultures. The negative correlation between mean apparent diffusivity and elastic modulus suggests that the diffusion coefficient is indicative of the average density of the physical microenvironment within the hydrogel construct.

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ID Code: 91650
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Diffusion imaging, magnetic resonance imaging, hydrogels, cancer cell cultures, Taxol
DOI: 10.3233/BSI-150130
ISSN: 2212-8794
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > PHYSICAL SCIENCES (020000) > OTHER PHYSICAL SCIENCES (029900) > Medical Physics (029903)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > ONCOLOGY AND CARCINOGENESIS (111200)
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Biomedical Sciences
Current > Schools > School of Chemistry, Physics & Mechanical Engineering
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Facilities: Central Analytical Research Facility
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2016 IOS Press and the authors
Deposited On: 13 Jan 2016 23:42
Last Modified: 23 Jun 2016 04:24

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