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Extracellular Electrophysiology in the Prostate Cancer Cell Model PC-3

Department of Electronic Engineering, Escuela Superior de Ingenieros, University of Seville, 41004 Seville, Spain
Department of Chemistry, University of Bath, Claverton Down, Bath BA2 7AY, UK
Centre for Biosensors, Bioelectronics and Biodevices (C3Bio), Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering, University of Bath, Claverton Down, Bath BA2 7AY, UK
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sensors 2019, 19(1), 139;
Received: 31 October 2018 / Revised: 17 December 2018 / Accepted: 20 December 2018 / Published: 3 January 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sensors for Cell Analysis)
Although prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers in the male population, its basic biological function at a cellular level remains to be fully understood. This lack of in depth understanding of its physiology significantly hinders the development of new, targeted and more effective treatment strategies. Whilst electrophysiological studies can provide in depth analysis, the possibility of recording electrical activity in large populations of non-neuronal cells remains a significant challenge, even harder to address in the picoAmpere-range, which is typical of cellular level electrical activities. In this paper, we present the measurement and characterization of electrical activity of populations of prostate cancer cells PC-3, demonstrating for the first time a meaningful electrical pattern. The low noise system used comprises a multi-electrode array (MEA) with circular gold electrodes on silicon oxide substrates. The extracellular capacitive currents present two standard patterns: an asynchronous sporadic pattern and a synchronous quasi-periodic biphasic spike pattern. An amplitude of ±150 pA, a width between 50–300 ms and an inter-spike interval around 0.5 Hz characterize the quasi-periodic spikes. Our experiments using treatment of cells with Gd3⁺, known as an inhibitor for the Ca2⁺ exchanges, suggest that the quasi-periodic signals originate from Ca2⁺ channels. After adding the Gd3⁺ to a population of living PC-3 cells, their electrical activity considerably decreased; once the culture was washed, thus eliminating the Gd3⁺ containing medium and addition of fresh cellular growth medium, the PC-3 cells recovered their normal electrical activity. Cellular viability plots have been carried out, demonstrating that the PC-3 cells remain viable after the use of Gd3⁺, on the timescale of this experiment. Hence, this experimental work suggests that Ca2⁺ is significantly affecting the electrophysiological communication pattern among PC-3 cell populations. Our measuring platform opens up new avenues for real time and highly sensitive investigations of prostate cancer signalling pathways. View Full-Text
Keywords: prostate cancer signalling; PC-3 cells; electrical activity; calcium channel inhibitor prostate cancer signalling; PC-3 cells; electrical activity; calcium channel inhibitor
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MDPI and ACS Style

Cabello, M.; Ge, H.; Aracil, C.; Moschou, D.; Estrela, P.; Manuel Quero, J.; I. Pascu, S.; R. F. Rocha, P. Extracellular Electrophysiology in the Prostate Cancer Cell Model PC-3. Sensors 2019, 19, 139.

AMA Style

Cabello M, Ge H, Aracil C, Moschou D, Estrela P, Manuel Quero J, I. Pascu S, R. F. Rocha P. Extracellular Electrophysiology in the Prostate Cancer Cell Model PC-3. Sensors. 2019; 19(1):139.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Cabello, Miguel, Haobo Ge, Carmen Aracil, Despina Moschou, Pedro Estrela, Jose Manuel Quero, Sofia I. Pascu, and Paulo R. F. Rocha. 2019. "Extracellular Electrophysiology in the Prostate Cancer Cell Model PC-3" Sensors 19, no. 1: 139.

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