The respiration of a cell culture combined with the low diffusion rate of oxygen in the growth medium can lead to a marked decrease in oxygen tension close to the cells. Depending on the particular circumstances, this phenomenon may interfere with other factors that one attempts to study and complicate interpretation of the results. Unisense developed a set-up for the detailed study of pericellular oxygen concentration and consumption rates of an adhering cell culture (Pettersen et.al. 2005).
Oxygen gradient in a culture flask with human carcinoma cells. Notice how the cells’ oxygen consumption reduce the concentration from 3.9% in the gas phase to 0.1% at the flask bottom. Measurements were made every 25 µm.
Using this set-up, the oxygen consumption of a carcinoma cell monolayer was studied. As seen in the graph above, the measurements showed a highly reduced pericellular oxygen concentration. Not only the pericellular concentration, but also oxygen gradients through the growth medium can be measured, allowing consumption rates to be calculated directly from the provided data acquisition software utility. In this setup the oxygen utilization rate is 360 fmol O2/cell/h.
Pettersen,E.O. et al (2005), Pericellular oxygen depletion during ordinary tissue culturing, measured with oxygen microsensors, Cell Prolif, 257 – 267, vol. 38.
Note: this article was copied from Unisense: http://www.unisense.com/app_cell_culture_profiling/