Cell fate decisions like apoptosis are heterogeneously implemented within a cell population and, consequently, the population response is recognized as sum of many individual dynamic events. Here, we report on the use of micro-patterned single-cell arrays for real-time tracking of nanoparticle-induced (NP) cell death in sets of thousands of cells in parallel. Annexin (pSIVA) and propidium iodide (PI), two fluorescent indicators of apoptosis, are simultaneously monitored after exposure to functionalized polystyrene (
) nanobeads as a model system. We find that the distribution of Annexin onset times shifts to later times and broadens as a function of decreasing NP dose. We discuss the mean time-to-death as a function of dose, and show how the
value depends both on dose and time of measurement. In addition, the correlations between the early and late apoptotic markers indicate a systematic shift from apoptotic towards necrotic cell death during the course of the experiment. Thus, our work demonstrates the potential of array-based single cell cytometry for kinetic analysis of signaling cascades in a high-throughput format.
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