Real-time flow cytometry for the kinetic analysis of oncosis

Authors

  • G. Warnes,

    Corresponding author
    1. Flow Cytometry Core Facility, The Blizard Institute of Cell and Molecular Science, Barts and The Royal London School of Medicine and Dentistry, London University, London E1 2AT, United Kingdom.
    • The Flow Cytometry Core Facility, The Blizard Institute of Cell and Molecular Science, Barts and The Royal London School of Medicine and Dentistry, London University, 4 Newark Street, London E1 2AT, United Kingdom
    Search for more papers by this author
  • S. Martins

    1. Flow Cytometry Core Facility, The Blizard Institute of Cell and Molecular Science, Barts and The Royal London School of Medicine and Dentistry, London University, London E1 2AT, United Kingdom.
    Search for more papers by this author

Abstract

The standard method of distinguishing apoptotic and oncotic cells has been by microscopic analysis of nuclei and cell membrane morphology. Thus a rapid test for analyzing large numbers of cells in the study of cell necrobiology has not been possible until the recent advent of the Amnis Image-stream and real-time Lab-on-a-Chip technologies. An interesting difference between apoptosis and oncosis is that they are ATP dependent and independent processes, respectively. Here we describe an assay measuring real-time kinetic changes in the potential differences of the inner mitochondrial membrane (mmp) and the plasma membrane (pmp) in cells immediately before and after the addition of the inducing agent. Live cells were loaded with carbocyanine dye DiIC1(5) and bis-oxonol (DiBAC4(5)) to measure mmp and pmp in conjunction with annexin V-FITC and DAPI labeling for gating out annexin V binding cells and dead cells respectively. Live cells gave specific membrane signatures in response to apoptotic or oncotic reagents in real-time. Apoptosis showed little change in mmp and pmp signals over the course of 25 min, the mitochondria only showed a slight hyperpolarization. In contrast chemical treatment with oxidative phosphorylation blocker, sodium azide (SA) caused an immediate hyperpolarization spike followed by a complete abrogation of mmp over a 25 min time course. Treatment with SA (1%) also caused plasma membrane depolarization. Likewise detergent (0.01% Triton X-100) treatments also caused abrogation of mmp and depolarization of pmp. Whereas heat shock (42°C) treatment showed only a slight mitochondrial membrane potential depolarization. These flow cytometric observations were confirmed by confocal microscopy. This novel real-time kinetic assay measuring mitochondrial and plasma membrane potential changes has important implications in the field of cell necrobiology in that it allows the researcher to differentiate apoptotic and oncotic processes in an immediate manner for the first time. © 2011 International Society for Advancement of Cytometry

Ancillary