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Electric Cell-substrate Impedance Sensing (ECIS) is an automated method that can be used to quantify processes such as cell attachment, growth, migration and barrier functions (i.e., the properties of tight junctions). The method provides simultaneous information on cell number and tight junction function by detecting electric parameters of cells grown on electrodes. Samples are probed with small alternating current (AC) over a range of frequencies, and changes in capacitance and impedance are measured over time. Capacitance reflects the degree of electrode coverage by cells, that correlates with cell number, and can be used to assess cell proliferation or migration. Impedance values inform about barrier function. Obtaining real-time simultaneous information on these parameters is unique to this system and is of great value for addressing fundamental questions such as the role of tight junction proteins in cell growth and migration. This protocol describes the use of ECIS to follow cell growth and tight junction-dependent barrier generation in tubular epithelial cells. We used this method to explore how depleting claudin-2, a tight junction protein affects tubular cell growth and barrier function. During the process, cells are transfected with control or claudin-2-specific siRNA, and 24h later plated on electrodes. ECIS automatically collects information on cell growth and barrier as the monolayer develops. The data are initially analyzed using the ECIS software and exported into a graph software for further processing. Copyright © 2020 The Authors; exclusive licensee Bio-protocol LLC.


Shaista Anwer, Katalin Szaszi. Measuring Cell Growth and Junction Development in Epithelial Cells Using Electric Cell-Substrate Impedance Sensing (ECIS). Bio-protocol. 2020 Aug 20;10(16):e3729

PMID: 33659390

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