Monitoring Cellular Performance
“Mitochondria were long neglected as a tool for cell-based assays,” says Steve Chomicz, vp of sales and marketing at Seahorse Bioscience. Although their central roles in cancer and many other pathological processes have been long recognized, the tools for studying mitochondrial function have hardly changed since the 1930s.
According to Chomicz, many cell-based assays measure features such as cell permeability, and in doing so miss the vital contribution of mitochondrial health to cell function. “We perform the equivalent of a stress test on our cells that reveals dysfunctional respiratory capacity,” he explains.
It is now possible to monitor myocytes grown under conditions that mimic a lean or obese model in order to develop a realistic cell-based assay for studying drugs that may affect metabolism. This includes the measurement of cellular respiration, revealing important cellular responses not detectable with other viability assays. An important feature of the XF platform is its noninvasive, physiologic measurement for primary or cultured cells, allowing the cells to be recycled for other purposes.