20 February 2018 Label-free cell-cycle analysis by high-throughput quantitative phase time-stretch imaging flow cytometry
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Biophysical properties of cells could complement and correlate biochemical markers to characterize a multitude of cellular states. Changes in cell size, dry mass and subcellular morphology, for instance, are relevant to cell-cycle progression which is prevalently evaluated by DNA-targeted fluorescence measurements. Quantitative-phase microscopy (QPM) is among the effective biophysical phenotyping tools that can quantify cell sizes and sub-cellular dry mass density distribution of single cells at high spatial resolution. However, limited camera frame rate and thus imaging throughput makes QPM incompatible with high-throughput flow cytometry – a gold standard in multiparametric cell-based assay. Here we present a high-throughput approach for label-free analysis of cell cycle based on quantitative-phase time-stretch imaging flow cytometry at a throughput of > 10,000 cells/s. Our time-stretch QPM system enables sub-cellular resolution even at high speed, allowing us to extract a multitude (at least 24) of single-cell biophysical phenotypes (from both amplitude and phase images). Those phenotypes can be combined to track cell-cycle progression based on a t-distributed stochastic neighbor embedding (t-SNE) algorithm. Using multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) discriminant analysis, cell-cycle phases can also be predicted label-free with high accuracy at >90% in G1 and G2 phase, and >80% in S phase. We anticipate that high throughput label-free cell cycle characterization could open new approaches for large-scale single-cell analysis, bringing new mechanistic insights into complex biological processes including diseases pathogenesis.
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Aaron T. Y. Mok, Kelvin C. M. Lee, Kenneth K. Y. Wong, Kevin K. Tsia, "Label-free cell-cycle analysis by high-throughput quantitative phase time-stretch imaging flow cytometry ", Proc. SPIE 10505, High-Speed Biomedical Imaging and Spectroscopy III: Toward Big Data Instrumentation and Management, 105050J (20 February 2018); doi: 10.1117/12.2291864; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2291864

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