Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 19624260
Tissue Eng Part C Methods 2010 Jun;16(3):447-58
Bioluminescent quantification of viable cells inside three-dimensional porous scaffolds was performed in vitro and in vivo. The assay quantified the bioluminescence of murine stem (C3H10T1/2) cells tagged with the luciferase gene reporter and distributed inside scaffolds of either soft, translucent, AN69 polymeric hydrogel or hard, opaque, coral ceramic materials. Quantitative evaluation of bioluminescence emitted from tagged cells adhering to these scaffolds was performed in situ using either cell lysates and a luminometer or intact cells and a bioluminescence imaging system. Despite attenuation of the signal when compared to cells alone, the bioluminescence correlated with the number of cells (up to 1.5 x 10(5)) present on each material scaffold tested, both in vitro and noninvasively in vivo (subcutaneous implants in the mouse model). The noninvasive bioluminescence measurement technique proved to be comparable to the cell-destructive bioluminescence measurement technique. Monitoring the kinetics of luciferase expression via bioluminescence enabled real-time assessment of cell survival and proliferation on the scaffolds tested over prolonged (up to 59 days) periods of time. This novel, sensitive, easy, fast-to-implement, quantitative bioluminescence assay has great, though untapped, potential for screening and determining noninvasively the presence of viable cells on biomaterial constructs in the tissue engineering and tissue regeneration fields.