Conventional imaging techniques can provide detailed information about cellular processes. However, this information is based on static images in an otherwise dynamic system, and successive phases are easily overlooked or misinterpreted. Live-cell imaging and time-lapse microscopy, in which living cells can be followed for hours or even days in a more or less continuous fashion, are therefore very informative. The protocol described here allows for the investigation of the fate of chemotherapeutic nanoparticles after the delivery of doxorubicin (dox) in living cells. Dox is an intercalating agent that must be released from its nanocarrier to become biologically active. In spite of its clinical registration for more than two decades, its uptake, breakdown, and drug release are still not fully understood. This article explores the hypothesis that lipid-based nanoparticles are taken up by the tumor cells and are slowly degraded. Released dox is then translocated to the nucleus. To prevent fixation artifacts, live-cell imaging and time-lapse microscopy, described in this experimental procedure, can be applied.

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Journal of Visualized Experiments
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Seynhaeve, A., & ten Hagen, T. (2017). Using in Vitro live-cell imaging to explore chemotherapeutics delivered by lipid-based nanoparticles. Journal of Visualized Experiments, 2017(129). doi:10.3791/55405