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The Role of the Tumor Environment on Hepatocellular Carcinoma
The research group of
Pär Gerwins and Femke Heindryckx studies the role of the fibrotic tumor
environment in the progression of hepatocellular carcinoma, using models
that mimic liver fibrosis and liver cancer1. Throughout our projects, we
on different hallmarks of the fibrotic environment that could influence
tumor growth2. One of the key cell types in our research are fibroblasts and
hepatic stellate cells, on which we study their activation towards
the contractile collagen producing myofibroblast. By identifying factors
that prevent or revert the activation of fibroblasts and stellate cells, we
hope to reduce fibrosis and eventually hepatocellular carcinoma. Recently we
found that targeting of ER stress-induced signaling might be a therapeutic
strategy to fight fibrotic diseases3.
The microfluidic CellDirector® 2D assay (Gradientech) is used to study cellular migration to platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) of diseased
human lung fibroblasts isolated from adult lung tissue of cystic fibrosis patients (HLF-CF). A continuous flow of cell
media, as well as cell media containing PDGF, exposes the cells to a stable
gradient throughout the entire experiment. By following cell
responses in realtime, true chemotaxis can be distinguished from random cell
migration. The cell responses are followed over time by real-time imaging using
the CytoSMART™ System. In order to quantify chemotaxis, images are analyzed by the cell tracking
software Tracking Tool™ PRO.
CytoSMART™ Video by the Tracking Tool™ PRO cell tracking software (Gradientech). Cell trajectory of three experiments was plotted on a merged polar coordinate grid.
System in combination with the CellDirector® 2D Microfluidic Assay constitute a cost-effective and easy-to-use solution for performing high-quality cell migration experiments of physiological relevance. By monitoring the cells in-real time in conditions of stable and controllable chemoattractant gradients, true chemotaxis can be distinguished from random chemokinesis. By comparing migration velocities of cells exposed to a gradient of a chemoattractant, with the velocities of cells in the positive and negative control channels, chemotaxis can easily be distinguished from pure chemokinetic responses. To summarize, the large field of view of the CytoSMART™ System allows for real-time imaging of gradient and control conditions within the CellDirector® 2D Assay, constituting a markedly less expensive solution compared to regular time-lapse microscopes with movable stages.
Heindryckx F, Colle I, Van Vlierberghe H (2009) International Journal of Experimental Pathology, 90; 367-386
Heindryckx F, Gerwins P (2015) World Journal of Hepatology 7:165-76
Heindryckx F, Binet F, Ponticos M, Rombouts K, Kreuger J et al. (2016). EMBO Molecular Medicine, May (epub ahead of print)
Find out more about Dr. Heindryckx research.
Interested to present your research here? Then apply
to become a CytoSMART™ Lab. You will receive a CytoSMART™ System on loan for 4
weeks and your project will be featured on the Lonza website.
How to become a CytoSMART™ Lab