Fluo-3 is widely used to study cell calcium. Two traditional approaches: (1) direct injection and (2) Fluo-3 acetoxymethyl ester (AM) loading, often bring conflicting results in cytoplasmic calcium ([Ca(2+)]c) and nuclear calcium ([Ca(2+)]n) imaging. AM loading usually yields a darker nucleus than in cytoplasm, while direct injection always induces a brighter nucleus which is more responsive to [Ca(2+)]n detection. In this work, we detailedly investigated the effects of loading and de-esterification temperatures on the fluorescence intensity of Fluo-3 in response to [Ca(2+)]n and [Ca(2+)]c in adherent cells, including osteoblast, HeLa and BV2 cells. Interestingly, it showed that fluorescence intensity of nucleus in osteoblast cells was about two times larger than that of cytoplasm when cells were loaded with Fluo-3 AM at 4°C and allowed a subsequent step for de-esterification at 20°C. Brighter nuclei were also acquired in HeLa and BV2 cells using the same experimental condition. Furthermore, loading time and adhesion quality of cells had effect on fluorescence intensity. Taken together, cold loading and room temperature de-esterification treatment of Fluo-3 AM selectively yielded brighter nucleus in adherent cells.
Microfluidics is a convenient platform to study the influences of fluid shear stress on calcium dynamics. Fluidic shear stress has been proven to affect bone cell functions and remodelling. We have developed a microfluidic system which can generate four shear flows in one device as a means to study cytosolic calcium concentration ([Ca(2+)](c)) dynamics of osteoblasts. Four shear forces were achieved by having four cell culture chambers with different widths while resistance correction channels compensated for the overall resistance to allow equal flow distribution towards the chambers. Computational simulation of the local shear stress distribution highlighted the preferred section in the cell chamber to measure the calcium dynamics. Osteoblasts showed an [Ca(2+)](c) increment proportional to the intensity of the shear stress from 0.03 to 0.30 Pa. A delay in response was observed with an activation threshold between 0.03 and 0.06 Pa. With computational modelling, our microfluidic device can offer controllable multishear stresses and perform quantitative comparisons of shear stress-induced intensity change of calcium in osteoblasts.
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