Cell Invasion and Migration Overview

ACEA Biosciences xCELLigence

Cell migration and invasion are critical to many facets of biology, including such diverse processes as wound healing and the intravasation/extravasation of cancer cells during metastasis. A major hurdle to studying migration and invasion has been the lack of techniques that are quantitative, reproducible, and efficient. Scratch assays/wound healing assays require repetitive visual evaluation of cells and provide subjective data that is poorly reproducible. Boyden chambers provide more objective data but are labor intensive (cells that have passed through membrane pores must be fixed, stained, and counted) and yield information for only a single time point.

In contrast, ACEA’s cell invasion and migration plate (CIM-Plate®; used with the xCELLigence® RTCA DP system) contains electronically integrated Boyden chambers that provide, in real-time and without the use of labels, quantitative kinetic data for migration/invasion with minimal hands-on time by the researcher. As cells move from the upper chamber towards chemoattractant in the lower chamber they pass through a membrane containing 8 μm pores and then adhere to gold impedance microelectrodes. The resultant change in impedance signal perfectly correlates with the number of cells attached to these electrodes, enabling facile collection of highly reproducible data over time ranges spanning from minutes to days. An overview of the CIM-Plate is shown below in Figure 1.

Figure 1   CIM-Plate Overview.  (A) CIM-Plate components.  (B) CIM-Plate detail.  The expanded view illustrates the upper and lower chambers for a single well.  The bottom surface of the upper chamber is composed of a microporous membrane that cells can migrate through.  Gold electrodes on the underside of this membrane detect the presence of adherent cells.  For a simple migration assay (not illustrated here) the cells being monitored would be plated directly onto the membrane.  For an invasion assay (shown here), cells are plated on top of a basement membrane matrix, a cellular monolayer, or some combination thereof.

Key Benefits
  1. Quantitative monitoring of cell migration or invasion in real-time.
  2. Label-free assay requires no fixation, staining or any other sample processing, dramatically reducing hands-on time.
  3. Easy quantification of the kinetics of migration or invasion.
  4. Rapid optimization of cell density and extracellular matrix density conditions.
  5. Non-invasive nature of the assay allows for cells on either side of the microporous membrane to be analyzed by  complementary techniques (imaging, RT-PCR, etc.)

To see specific examples of how the xCELLigence RTCA DP system and CIM-Plate have been used for cell migration/invasion studies, click the below links:

Click here to download the full list (PDF) of publications citing the xCELLigence RTCA CIM-Plate technology.

Featured xCELLigence RTCA System for Cell Migration and Invasion

xCELLigence RTCA DP
RTCA DP
3×16 wells

Visit the xCELLigence RTCA DP product page for additional information.