Three-dimensional lung tumor microenvironment modulates therapeutic compound responsiveness in vitro--implication for drug development.
ABSTRACT: Three-dimensional (3D) cell culture is gaining acceptance in response to the need for cellular models that better mimic physiologic tissues. Spheroids are one such 3D model where clusters of cells will undergo self-assembly to form viable, 3D tumor-like structures. However, to date little is known about how spheroid biology compares to that of the more traditional and widely utilized 2D monolayer cultures. Therefore, the goal of this study was to characterize the phenotypic and functional differences between lung tumor cells grown as 2D monolayer cultures, versus cells grown as 3D spheroids. Eight lung tumor cell lines, displaying varying levels of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and cMET protein expression, were used to develop a 3D spheroid cell culture model using low attachment U-bottom plates. The 3D spheroids were compared with cells grown in monolayer for 1) EGFR and cMET receptor expression, as determined by flow cytometry, 2) EGFR and cMET phosphorylation by MSD assay, and 3) cell proliferation in response to epidermal growth factor (EGF) and hepatocyte growth factor (HGF). In addition, drug responsiveness to EGFR and cMET inhibitors (Erlotinib, Crizotinib, Cetuximab [Erbitux] and Onartuzumab [MetMab]) was evaluated by measuring the extent of cell proliferation and migration. Data showed that EGFR and cMET expression is reduced at day four of untreated spheroid culture compared to monolayer. Basal phosphorylation of EGFR and cMET was higher in spheroids compared to monolayer cultures. Spheroids showed reduced EGFR and cMET phosphorylation when stimulated with ligand compared to 2D cultures. Spheroids showed an altered cell proliferation response to HGF, as well as to EGFR and cMET inhibitors, compared to monolayer cultures. Finally, spheroid cultures showed exceptional utility in a cell migration assay. Overall, the 3D spheroid culture changed the cellular response to drugs and growth factors and may more accurately mimic the natural tumor microenvironment.
Project description:Background:Mass production of exosomes is a prerequisite for their commercial utilization. This study investigated whether three-dimensional (3D) spheroid culture of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) could improve the production efficiency of exosomes and if so, what was the mechanism involved. Methods:We adopted two models of 3D spheroid culture using the hanging-drop (3D-HD) and poly(2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate) (poly-HEMA) coating methods (3D-PH). The efficiency of exosome production from MSCs in the 3D spheroids was compared with that of monolayer culture in various conditions. We then investigated the mechanism of the 3D spheroid culture-induced increase in exosome production. Results:The 3D-HD formed a single larger spheroid, while the 3D-PH formed multiple smaller ones. However, MSCs cultured on both types of spheroids produced significantly more exosomes than those cultured in conventional monolayer culture (2D). We then investigated the cause of the increased exosome production in terms of hypoxia within the 3D spheroids, high cell density, and non-adherent cell morphology. With increasing spheroid size, the efficiency of exosome production was the largest with the least amount of cells in both 3D-HD and 3D-PH. An increase in cell density in 2D culture (2D-H) was less efficient in exosome production than the conventional, lower cell density, 2D culture. Finally, when cells were plated at normal density on the poly-HEMA coated spheroids (3D-N-PH); they formed small aggregates of less than 10 cells and still produced more exosomes than those in the 2D culture when plated at the same density. We also found that the expression of F-actin was markedly reduced in the 3D-N-PH culture. Conclusion:These results suggested that 3D spheroid culture produces more exosomes than 2D culture and the non-adherent round cell morphology itself might be a causative factor. The result of the present study could provide useful information to develop an optimal process for the mass production of exosomes.
Project description:More predictive in vitro liver models are a critical requirement for preclinical screening of compounds demonstrating hepatotoxic liability. 3D liver spheroids have been shown to have an enhanced functional lifespan compared to 2D monocultures; however a detailed characterisation of spatiotemporal function and structure of spheroids still needs further attention before widespread use in industry. We have developed and characterized the structure and function of a 3D liver spheroid model formed from C3A hepatoma cells. Spheroids were viable and maintained a compact in vivo-like structure with zonation features for up to 32 days. MRP2 and Pgp transporters had polarised expression on the canalicular membrane of cells in the spheroids and were able to functionally transport CMFDA substrate into these canalicular structures. Spheroids expressed CYP2E1 and were able to synthesise and secrete albumin and urea to a higher degree than monolayer C3A cultures. Penetration of doxorubicin throughout the spheroid core was demonstrated. Spheroids showed increased susceptibility to hepatotoxins when compared to 2D cultures, with acetaminophen having an IC50 of 7.2 mM in spheroids compared to 33.8 mM in monolayer culture. To conclude, we developed an alternative method for creating C3A liver spheroids and demonstrated cellular polarisation and zonation, as well as superior liver-specific functionality and more sensitive toxicological response compared to standard 2D liver models, confirming a more in vivo-like liver model.
Project description:Thyroid cancer has the fastest growing incidence of any cancer in the United States, as measured by the number of new cases per year. Despite advances in tissue culture techniques, a robust model for thyroid cancer spheroid culture is yet to be developed. Using eight established thyroid cancer cell lines, we created an efficient and cost-effective 3D culture system that can enhance our understanding of in vivo treatment response. We found that all eight cell lines readily form spheroids in culture with unique morphology, size, and cytoskeletal organization. In addition, we developed a high-throughput workflow that allows for drug screening of spheroids. Using this approach, we found that spheroids from K1 and TPC1 cells demonstrate significant differences in their sensitivities to dabrafenib treatment that closely model expected patient drug response. In addition, K1 spheroids have increased sensitivity to dabrafenib when compared to monolayer K1 cultures. Utilizing traditional 2D cultures of these cell lines, we evaluated the mechanisms of this drug response, showing dramatic and acute changes in their actin cytoskeleton as well as inhibition of migratory behavior in response to dabrafenib treatment. Our study is the first to describe the development of a robust spheroid system from established cultured thyroid cancer cell lines and adaptation to a high-throughput format. We show that combining 3D culture with traditional 2D methods provides a complementary and powerful approach to uncover drug sensitivity and mechanisms of inhibition in thyroid cancer.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Three-dimensional (3D) in-vitro cultures are recognized for recapitulating the physiological microenvironment and exhibiting high concordance with in-vivo conditions. Taking the advantages of 3D culture, we have developed the in-vitro tumor model for anticancer drug screening. METHODS:Cancer cells grown in 6 and 96 well AlgiMatrix™ scaffolds resulted in the formation of multicellular spheroids in the size range of 100-300 µm. Spheroids were grown in two weeks in cultures without compromising the growth characteristics. Different marketed anticancer drugs were screened by incubating them for 24 h at 7, 9 and 11 days in 3D cultures and cytotoxicity was measured by AlamarBlue® assay. Effectiveness of anticancer drug treatments were measured based on spheroid number and size distribution. Evaluation of apoptotic and anti-apoptotic markers was done by immunohistochemistry and RT-PCR. The 3D results were compared with the conventional 2D monolayer cultures. Cellular uptake studies for drug (Doxorubicin) and nanoparticle (NLC) were done using spheroids. RESULTS:IC(50) values for anticancer drugs were significantly higher in AlgiMatrix™ systems compared to 2D culture models. The cleaved caspase-3 expression was significantly decreased (2.09 and 2.47 folds respectively for 5-Fluorouracil and Camptothecin) in H460 spheroid cultures compared to 2D culture system. The cytotoxicity, spheroid size distribution, immunohistochemistry, RT-PCR and nanoparticle penetration data suggested that in vitro tumor models show higher resistance to anticancer drugs and supporting the fact that 3D culture is a better model for the cytotoxic evaluation of anticancer drugs in vitro. CONCLUSION:The results from our studies are useful to develop a high throughput in vitro tumor model to study the effect of various anticancer agents and various molecular pathways affected by the anticancer drugs and formulations.
Project description:Gingiva has been identified as a minimally invasive source of multipotent progenitor cells (GPCs) for use in bone tissue engineering (BTE). To facilitate clinical translation, it is important to characterize GPCs in xeno-free cultures. Recent evidence indicates several advantages of three-dimensional (3D) spheroid cultures of mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) over conventional 2D monolayers. The present study aimed to characterize human GPCs in xeno-free 2D cultures, and to test their osteogenic potential in 3D cultures, in comparison to bone marrow MSCs (BMSCs). Primary GPCs and BMSCs were expanded in human platelet lysate (HPL) or fetal bovine serum (FBS) and characterized based on in vitro proliferation, immunophenotype and multi-lineage differentiation. Next, 3D spheroids of GPCs and BMSCs were formed via self-assembly and cultured in HPL. Expression of stemness- (SOX2, OCT4, NANOG) and osteogenesis-related markers (BMP2, RUNX2, OPN, OCN) was assessed at gene and protein levels in 3D and 2D cultures. The cytokine profile of 3D and 2D GPCs and BMSCs was assessed via a multiplex immunoassay. Monolayer GPCs in both HPL and FBS demonstrated a characteristic MSC-like immunophenotype and multi-lineage differentiation; osteogenic differentiation of GPCs was enhanced in HPL vs. FBS. CD271+ GPCs in HPL spontaneously acquired a neuronal phenotype and strongly expressed neuronal/glial markers. 3D spheroids of GPCs and BMSCs with high cell viability were formed in HPL media. Expression of stemness- and osteogenesis-related genes was significantly upregulated in 3D vs. 2D GPCs/BMSCs; the latter was independent of osteogenic induction. Synthesis of SOX2, BMP2 and OCN was confirmed via immunostaining, and in vitro mineralization via Alizarin red staining. Finally, secretion of several growth factors and chemokines was enhanced in GPC/BMSC spheroids, while that of pro-inflammatory cytokines was reduced, compared to monolayers. In summary, monolayer GPCs expanded in HPL demonstrate enhanced osteogenic differentiation potential, comparable to that of BMSCs. Xeno-free spheroid culture further enhances stemness- and osteogenesis-related gene expression, and cytokine secretion in GPCs, comparable to that of BMSCs.
Project description:Efficient ex vivo expansion of hematopoietic stem cells with a concomitant preservation of stemness and self-renewal potential is still an unresolved ambition. Increased numbers of methods approaching this issue using three-dimensional (3D) cultures were reported. Here, we describe a simplified 3D hanging drop model for the coculture of cord blood-derived CD34(+) hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPCs) with bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs). When seeded as a mixed cell suspension, MSCs segregated into tight spheroids. Despite the high expression of niche-specific extracellular matrix components by spheroid-forming MSCs, HSPCs did not migrate into the spheroids in the initial phase of coculture, indicating strong homotypic interactions of MSCs. After one week, however, HSPC attachment increased considerably, leading to spheroid collapse as demonstrated by electron microscopy and immunofluorescence staining. In terms of HSPC proliferation, the conventional 2D coculture system was superior to the hanging drop model. Furthermore, expansion of primitive hematopoietic progenitors was more favored in 2D than in 3D, as analyzed in colony-forming assays. Conclusively, our data demonstrate that MSCs, when arranged with a spread (monolayer) shape, exhibit better HSPC supportive qualities than spheroid-forming MSCs. Therefore, 3D systems are not necessarily superior to traditional 2D culture in this regard.
Project description:Three-dimensional (3D) tumor cell cultures grown in laminin-rich-extracellular matrix (lrECM) are considered to reflect human tumors more realistic as compared to cells grown as monolayer on plastic. Here, we systematically investigated the impact of ECM on phenotype, gene expression, EGFR signaling pathway, and on EGFR inhibition in commonly used colorectal cancer (CRC) cell lines. LrECM on-top (3D) culture assays were performed with the CRC cell lines SW-480, HT-29, DLD-1, LOVO, CACO-2, COLO-205 and COLO-206F. Morphology of lrECM cultivated CRC cell lines was determined by phase contrast and confocal laser scanning fluorescence microscopy. Proliferation of cells was examined by MTT assay, invasive capacity of the cell lines was assayed using Matrigel-coated Boyden chambers, and migratory activity was determined employing the Fence assay. Differential gene expression was analyzed at the transcriptional level by the Agilent array platform. EGFR was inhibited by using the specific small molecule inhibitor AG1478. A specific spheroid growth pattern was observed for all investigated CRC cell lines. DLD-1, HT-29 and SW-480 and CACO-2 exhibited a clear solid tumor cell formation, while LOVO, COLO-205 and COLO-206F were characterized by forming grape-like structures. Although the occurrence of a spheroid morphology did not correlate with an altered migratory, invasive, or proliferative capacity of CRC cell lines, gene expression was clearly altered in cells grown on lrECM as compared to 2D cultures. Interestingly, in KRAS wild-type cell lines, inhibition of EGFR was less effective in lrECM (3D) cultures as compared to 2D cell cultures. Thus, comparing both 2D and 3D cell culture models, our data support the influence of the ECM on cancer growth. Compared to conventional 2D cell culture, the lrECM (3D) cell culture model offers the opportunity to investigate permanent CRC cell lines under more physiological conditions, i.e. in the context of molecular therapeutic targets and their pharmacological inhibition.
Project description:Epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) is the most lethal gynecologic malignancy in North America, underscoring the need for the development of new therapeutic strategies for the management of this disease. Although many drugs are pre-clinically tested every year, only a few are selected to be evaluated in clinical trials, and only a small number of these are successfully incorporated into standard care. Inaccuracies with the initial in vitro drug testing may be responsible for some of these failures. Drug testing is often performed using 2D monolayer cultures or 3D spheroid models. Here, we investigate the impact that these different in vitro models have on the carboplatin response of four EOC cell lines, and in particular how different 3D models (polydimethylsiloxane-based microfluidic chips and ultra low attachment plates) influence drug sensitivity within the same cell line. Our results show that carboplatin responses were observed in both the 3D spheroid models tested using apoptosis/cell death markers by flow cytometry. Contrary to previously reported observations, these were not associated with a significant decrease in spheroid size. For the majority of the EOC cell lines (3 out of 4) a similar carboplatin response was observed when comparing both spheroid methods. Interestingly, two cell lines classified as resistant to carboplatin in 2D cultures became sensitive in the 3D models, and one sensitive cell line in 2D culture showed resistance in 3D spheroids. Our results highlight the challenges of choosing the appropriate pre-clinical models for drug testing.
Project description:Human bone marrow mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) are conventionally cultured as adherent monolayers on tissue culture plastic. MSCs can also be cultured as 3D cell aggregates (spheroids). Optimised 3D conditions (60,000 MSCs cultured as a spheroid for 5 days) inhibited MSC proliferation and induced cell shrinkage in the absence of cell death. Primary human MSCs isolated from 2 donors were cultured under both monolayer (2D MSCs) and optimised 3D (3D MSCs) conditions. High quality RNA was isolated from all samples, and global gene expression analysis was performed in duplicate (using Agilent SurePrint G3 Human Gene Expression 8x60K v2 Microarrays) to identify gene expression changes in 3D compared to 2D MSC cultures.
Project description:3-dimensional (3D) culture models have the potential to bridge the gap between monolayer cell culture and in vivo studies. To benefit anti-cancer drug discovery from 3D models, new techniques are needed that enable their use in high-throughput (HT) screening amenable formats. We have established miniaturized 3D culture methods robust enough for automated HT screens. We have applied these methods to evaluate the sensitivity of normal and tumorigenic breast epithelial cell lines against a panel of oncology drugs when cultured as monolayers (2D) and spheroids (3D). We have identified two classes of compounds that exhibit preferential cytotoxicity against cancer cells over normal cells when cultured as 3D spheroids: microtubule-targeting agents and epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) inhibitors. Further improving upon our 3D model, superior differentiation of EC50 values in the proof-of-concept screens was obtained by co-culturing the breast cancer cells with normal human fibroblasts and endothelial cells. Further, the selective sensitivity of the cancer cells towards chemotherapeutics was observed in 3D co-culture conditions, rather than as 2D co-culture monolayers, highlighting the importance of 3D cultures. Finally, we examined the putative mechanisms that drive the differing potency displayed by EGFR inhibitors. In summary, our studies establish robust 3D culture models of human cells for HT assessment of tumor cell-selective agents. This methodology is anticipated to provide a useful tool for the study of biological differences within 2D and 3D culture conditions in HT format, and an important platform for novel anti-cancer drug discovery.