Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) in tumor cells was found to play an important role in maintaining the malignant phenotype. Using laser scanning confocal fluorescence microscopy (LSCFM) in a recent work, we reported a variable fluorescence intensity of ethidium bromide (EB) in mitochondria nucleoids of living carcinoma cells. Since when EB is bound to nucleic acids its fluorescence is intensified; a higher EB fluorescence intensity could reflect a higher DNA accessibility to EB, suggesting a higher mtDNA replication activity. To prove this hypothesis, in the present work we studied, by LSCFM, the EB fluorescence in mitochondria nucleoids of living neuroblastoma cells, a model system in which differentiation affects the level of mtDNA replication. A drastic decrease of fluorescence was observed after differentiation. To correlate EB fluorescence intensity to the mtDNA replication state, we evaluated the mtDNA nascent strands content by ligation-mediated real-time PCR, and we found a halved amount of replicating mtDNA molecules in differentiating cells. A similar result was obtained by BrdU incorporation. These results indicate that the low EB fluorescence of nucleoids in differentiated cells is correlated to a low content of replicating mtDNA, suggesting that EB may be used as a marker of mtDNA replication in living cells.
Breast density is a major risk factor for developing breast cancer. Non-invasive assessment of breast density was
performed by means of time-resolved 7-wavelength (635-1060 nm) optical mammography. Good correlation was
achieved between mammographic density and optically derived indexes in a clinical study that is presently ongoing and
that has involved 63 subjects up to now.
Breast density is a recognized strong and independent risk factor for breast cancer. We propose the use of time-resolved transmittance spectroscopy to estimate breast tissue density and potentially provide even more direct information on breast cancer risk. Time-resolved optical mammography at seven wavelengths (635 to 1060 nm) is performed on 49 subjects. Average information on breast tissue of each subject is obtained on oxy- and deoxyhemoglobin, water, lipids, and collagen content, as well as scattering amplitude and power. All parameters, except for blood volume and oxygenation, correlate with mammographic breast density, even if not to the same extent. A synthetic optical index proves to be quite effective in separating different breast density categories. Finally, the estimate of collagen content as a more direct means for the assessment of breast cancer risk is discussed.
We propose a 2,5-Bis[1-(4-N-methylpyridinium)ethen-2-yl)]-N-methylpyrrole ditriflate (PEPEP) as a novel nontoxic, nonpotentiometric mitochondrial probe for confocal fluorescence microscopy. PEPEP is a representative chromophore of a large family of heterocyclic fluorescent dyes that show fluorescence emission in aqueous media and great DNA affinity. We check its cytotoxicity and intracellular localization in mammalian and yeast cell cultures. We demonstrate that PEPEP is a very efficient dye for fluorescence confocal microscopy and a valuable alternative to the most frequently used mitochondrial stains.
We present here the study of intracellular distribution of doxorubicin in the single living cell by scanning confocal fluorescence microscopy, with argon laser excitation and photon counting detection. New results on the nuclear and cytoplasmic drug fluorescence not detectable by conventional microscopy are discussed. Differences in the fluorescence pattern observed in living and fixed cells suggest new insights in the mode of action of the drug.