DEP-Dots for 3D cell culture: low-cost, high-repeatability, effective 3D cell culture in multiple gel systems

Erin A. Henslee, Carina M. Dunlop, Christine M. de Mel, Emily A. Carter, Rula G. Abdallat, Patrizia Camelliti, Fatima H. Labeed

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


It is known that cells grown in 3D are more tolerant to drug treatment than those grown in dispersion, but the mechanism for this is still not clear; cells grown in 3D have opportunities to develop inter-cell communication, but are also closely packed which may impede diffusion. In this study we examine methods for dielectrophoresis-based cell aggregation of both suspension and adherent cell lines, and compare the effect of various drugs on cells grown in 3D and 2D. Comparing viability of pharmacological interventions on 3D cell clusters against both suspension cells and adherent cells grown in monolayer, as well as against a unicellular organism with no propensity for intracellular communication, we suggest that 3D aggregates of adherent cells, compared to suspension cells, show a substantially different drug response to cells grown in monolayer, which increases as the IC50 is approached. Further, a mathematical model of the system for each agent demonstrates that changes to drug response are due to inherent changes in the system of adherent cells from the 2D to 3D state. Finally, differences in the electrophysiological membrane properties of the adherent cell type suggest this parameter plays an important role in the differences found in the 3D drug response.

Original languageEnglish
Article number14603
JournalScientific reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2020
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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