Cell invasion in the spheroid sprouting assay: a spatial organisation analysis adaptable to cell behaviour.
- Cardiovascular Research Unit
The endothelial cell spheroid assay provides a suitable in vitro model to study (lymph) angiogenesis and test pro- and anti-(lymph) angiogenic factors or drugs. Usually, the extent of cell invasion, observed through optical microscopy, is measured. The present study proposes the spatial distribution of migrated cells as a new descriptor of the (lymph) angiogenic response. The utility of this novel method rests with its capacity to locally characterise spheroid structure, allowing not only the investigation of single and collective cell invasion but also the evolution of the spheroid core itself. Moreover, the proposed method can be applied to 2D-projected spheroid images obtained by optical microscopy, as well as to 3D images acquired by confocal microscopy. To validate the proposed methodology, endothelial cell invasion was evaluated under different experimental conditions. The results were compared with widely used global parameters. The comparison shows that our method prevents local spheroid modifications from being overlooked and leading to the possible misinterpretation of results.