Compressed collagen and decellularized tissue - novel components in a pipeline approach for the study of cancer metastasis.
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BACKGROUND: Metastasis is a complex process which is difficult to study and model. Experimental ingenuity is therefore essential when seeking to elucidate the biological mechanisms involved. Typically, in vitro models of metastasis have been overly simplistic, lacking the characteristic elements of the tumour microenvironment, whereas in vivo models are expensive, requiring specialist resources. Here we propose a pipeline approach for the study of cell migration and colonization, two critical steps in the metastatic cascade. METHODS: We used a range of extracellular matrix derived contexts to facilitate a progressive approach to the observation and quantification of cell behaviour in 2D, 3D and at border zones between dimensions. At the simplest level, cells were set onto collagen-coated plastic or encapsulated within a collagen matrix. To enhance this, a collagen compression technique provided a stiffened, denser substrate which could be used as a 2D surface or to encapsulate cells. Decellularized tissue from the chorioallantoic membrane of the developing chicken embryo was used to provide a more structured, biologically relevant extracellular matrix-based context in which cell behaviour could then be compared with its in vivo counterpart. RESULTS: Cell behaviour could be observed and quantified within each context using standard laboratory techniques of microscopy and immunostaining, affording the opportunity for comparison and contrast of behaviour across the whole range of contexts. In particular, the temporal constraints of the in vivo CAM were removed when cells were cultured on the decellularized CAM, allowing for much longer-term cell colonization and cell-cell interaction. CONCLUSIONS: Together the assays within this pipeline provide the opportunity for the study of cell behaviour in a replicable way across multiple environments. The assays can be set up and analysed using easily available resources and standard laboratory equipment. We believe this offers the potential for the detailed study of cell migration and colonization of tissue, essential steps in the metastatic cascade. Also, we propose that the pipeline could be used in the wider arena of cell culture in general with the increasingly more complex contexts allowing cell behaviours and interactions to be explored in a stepwise fashion in an integrated way.
AuthorsKeeton, SJ; Delalande, JM; Cranfield, M; Burns, A; Dash, PR
- Immune Systems