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Feb 1, 2011 (Vol. 31, No. 3)

In Vivo Imaging Product Showcase

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    The RTCA Cardio Instrument is the latest member of Roche’s xCELLigence product family. It is a medium-throughput cell analyzer that utilizes impedance readings to monitor cardiac beating and cellular events in real time.

    In addition to the scientific presentations at the American Society for Cell Biology conference in Philadelphia, the exhibition floor featured a number of product offerings specifically designed for researchers studying the workings of the cell. For example, Roche Diagnostics previewed two new models of the xCELLigence System for automated dynamic monitoring of cellular processes at the recent ASCB annual meeting. The xCELLigence system allows for label-free real-time monitoring of cellular events by measuring electrical impedance across interdigitated microelectrodes integrated into the bottom of tissue culture E-Plates.

    The RTCA HT system consists of the RTCA station, an RTCA HT analyzer that can connect to up to four 384-well plate stations, and a control unit. It can process one to four 384-well plates in parallel and integrates with third-party automation platforms.

    Roche designed the xCELLigence RTCA Cardio Instrument for performing preclinical safety assessment of drug candidates using stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes. The system, together with the 96-well E-Plate Cardio, can detect cardiomyocyte contraction, providing measures of the rate and amplitude of cell beating as well as other parameters useful for assessing changes in cardiomyocyte function, viability, and morphology in response to the delivery of experimental drugs.

    Roche also introduced the X-treme-GENE9 and X-tremeGENE HP DNA transfection reagents, the newest additions to its cellular-analysis product family.

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    A section of a 3x3 xyz montage taken using Olympus' FV10i confocal system: The sample was a 16 micrometer section of mouse brain labeled for nuclei, neurofilaments, and astrocytes.

    The Olympus FSX100™ microscope now has an environmental control option to enable time-lapse imaging of live cells, with the addition of the Tokai Hit®  compact Stage Top Incubator. The incubator module provides temperature, humidity, and CO2 control and features a clear glass-heated top plate to prevent condensation. Users can select from control units that provide only temperature control, premixed 5% CO2, or integration with a digital gas mixer for 100% CO2 delivery. Olympus also featured its self-contained FV10i confocal-scanning microscope with darkroom capabilities.

    Tokai Hit’s INU series of compact environmental chambers offer a range of adaptors to accommodate a 35 mm culture dish, a 50/60 mm dish, chamber slide, chambered cover glass, or slide glass. The company designed the Stage Heater to minimize anti-Z-axis drift and maintain optimal focus for confocal applications as well as time-lapse and long-term imaging experiments.

    UVP introduced the new iBox Explorer fluorescence imaging microscope designed for preclinical in vivo imaging studies in small animals. Cancer-related applications include the study of tumor shedding and metastasis, primary tumor growth, angiogenesis, hematogenous trafficking, and interactions at tumor margins. The iBox Explorer detects fluorescent markers in the visible to near-infrared range. It includes configurable filters and generates a continuous excitation spectrum. The motorized stage repositions the animal across the X,Y, and Z axes. Motorized optics adjust the field of view to allow for imaging of whole organs down to single cells.

    Thorlabs previewed a prototype of the MZS350 piezo-driven Z-axis scanning stage that will be available in spring 2011. It is capable of 350 µm of travel in the Z direction and allows for repeatable positioning for rescanning of a sample with a high degree of accuracy. Applicable for confocal microscopy and 3-D imaging, the MZS350 is compatible with the company’s MLS203 Series of XY stage systems.

    Cellasic featured its Microfluidic 3D Culture Array (MiCA) technology, which allows for 3-D perfusion culture in a gel matrix in a 96-well format. Thirty-two independent flow units each contain a linked flow inlet well, a cell chamber, and an outlet well. The company designed the cell chamber to model the interstitial tissue environment. Cellasic’s Onix™ microfluidic plates and control system allow for long-term live-cell imaging by utilizing microfluidic technology to maintain favorable environmental conditions to support live-cell perfusion within each chamber.

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