Michael P. Valley1, Kevin R. Kupcho1, Chad A. Zimprich1, Donna Leippe1, Andrew L. Niles1, Jolanta Vidugiriene1, James J. Cali1, Jens M. Kelm2, Wolfgang Moritz2, and Dan F. Lazar1
1Promega Corporation, Madison, WI. and 2InSphero AG, Zürich, Switzerland
Microtissues produced in 3D cell culture are much more representative of actual living tissue compared to monolayers produced in 2D cell culture. In fact, in the area of oncology research, multicellular tumor spheroids are considered an excellent platform for testing drug delivery and efficacy. As the necessity for established 3D cell culture models rises, there is also a need for convenient assays that have been specifically demonstrated to be effective for use with 3D microtissues. The more complex architecture of 3D microtissues demands increased lytic effectiveness and reagent penetration, characteristics that are often only minor considerations for reagents designed for 2D cell culture. Here we report on a variety of bioluminescent and fluorescent cell-based assays applied to hanging-drop spheroids produced from HCT116 colon cancer cells. The first assay to be described is an ATP detection reagent for measuring cell viability. This reagent has both an improved formulation and an optimized assay protocol and has
clear advantages over other viability assays. Other cell health assays will also be described, including reagents that measure cell death, apoptosis, mechanistic cytotoxicity, or reporter gene expression. These additional assays do not require a change in formulation, but do require new protocols in order to optimize their effectiveness when applied to 3D microtissues. As with their application to cells in 2D culture, these “add-mix-measure” reagents are robust and amenable to both low- and high-throughput applications.