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11 February 2011 Raman confocal microscopy and AFM combined studies of cancerous cells treated with Paclitaxel
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Paclitaxel interferes with the normal function of microtubule breakdown, induces apoptosis in cancer cells and sequesters free tubulin. As this drug acts also on other cell mechanisms it is important to monitor its accumulation in the cell compartments. The intracellular spreading of the drug was followed using a WITEC 300R confocal Raman microscope equipped with a CCD camera. Hence Atomic force microscopy (an MFP3D- Asylum Research AFM) in imaging and force mode was used to determine the morphological and mechanical modifications induced on living cells. These studies were performed on living epithelial MCF-7 breast cancer cells. Paclitaxel was added to cell culture media for 3, 6 and 9 hours. Among the specific paclitaxel Raman bands we selected the one at 1670 cm-1 because it is not superposed by the spectrum of the cells. Confocal Raman images are formed by monitoring this band, the NH2 and the PO4 band. Paclitaxel slightly accumulates in the nucleus forming patches. The drug is also concentrated in the vicinity of the cell membrane and in an area close to the nucleus where proteins accumulate. Our AFM images reveal that the treated cancerous MCF-7 cells keep the same size as the non treated ones, but their shape becomes more oval. Cell's elasticity is also modified: a difference of 2 kPa in the Young Modulus characterizes the treated MCF-7 mammary cancerous cell. Our observations demonstrate that paclitaxel acts not only on microtubules but accumulates also in other cell compartments (nucleus) where microtubules are absent.
© (2011) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
L. Derely, P.-Y. Collart Dutilleul, Sylvain Michotte de Welle, V. Szabo, C. Gergely, and F. J. G. Cuisinier "Raman confocal microscopy and AFM combined studies of cancerous cells treated with Paclitaxel", Proc. SPIE 7908, Nanoscale Imaging, Sensing, and Actuation for Biomedical Applications VIII, 79080H (11 February 2011);

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