The Journal of Biological Physics and Chemistry



Volume 10, Number 4, p.p. 145–151



Spreading kinetics for quantifying cell state during stem cell differentiation

Amirreza Aref,†, ‡ Robert Horvath†, ² and Jeremy J. Ramsden†, *

†  Cranfield University, Bedfordshire MK43 0AL, UK

‡  Department of Biological Engineering, 77 Massachusetts Ave, Room NE47-320, Cambridge, MA 02139, UK

² Research Institute for Technical Physics and Materials Science (MTA-MFA), Konkoly Thege Miklós út 29–33

   H-1121 Budapest, Hungary

Stem cells undergoing development leading to a differentiated state were periodically removed from their culture environment and allowed to settle upon a planar substratum simultaneously acting as an optical waveguide, whereupon they undergo rapid (on a timescale of tens of minutes) spreading. The kinetics of this rapid spreading were followed by analysing the resulting perturbation of the evanescent fields of the optical lightmodes. The technique is completely noninvasive. A logistic law was fitted to the high resolution kinetic spreading data, which could be quantified using three new parameters, exploratory eagerness, spreading constraint, and time to decision. Two environments were investigated, each one leading to a significantly different differentiated state. Using our method, we could demonstrate that the two states have markedly different rapid spreading behaviour with concomitantly different values of these three parameters.

Keywords: filopodia, optical waveguide lightmode spectroscopy, sigmoidal


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