1 July 2011 Quantification of nanoscale nuclear refractive index changes during the cell cycle
Author Affiliations +
J. of Biomedical Optics, 16(7), 070503 (2011). doi:10.1117/1.3597723
Intrigued by our recent finding that the nuclear refractive index is significantly increased in malignant cells and histologically normal cells in clinical histology specimens derived from cancer patients, we sought to identify potential biological mechanisms underlying the observed phenomena. The cell cycle is an ordered series of events that describes the intervals of cell growth, DNA replication, and mitosis that precede cell division. Since abnormal cell cycles and increased proliferation are characteristic of many human cancer cells, we hypothesized that the observed increase in nuclear refractive index could be related to an abundance or accumulation of cells derived from cancer patients at a specific point or phase(s) of the cell cycle. Here we show that changes in nuclear refractive index of fixed cells are seen as synchronized populations of cells that proceed through the cell cycle, and that increased nuclear refractive index is strongly correlated with increased DNA content. We therefore propose that an abundance of cells undergoing DNA replication and mitosis may explain the increase in nuclear refractive index observed in both malignant and histologically normal cells from cancer patients. Our findings suggest that nuclear refractive index may be a novel physical parameter for early cancer detection and risk stratification.
Rajan K. Bista, Shikhar Uttam, Pin Wang, Kevin D. Staton, Randall E. Brand, Yang Liu, Serah Choi, Christopher J. Bakkenist, Douglas J. Hartman, "Quantification of nanoscale nuclear refractive index changes during the cell cycle," Journal of Biomedical Optics 16(7), 070503 (1 July 2011). http://dx.doi.org/10.1117/1.3597723
Submission: Received ; Accepted

Refractive index


Flow cytometry


Confocal microscopy


Statistical analysis

Back to Top