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In this work, we investigated the ability of impedance flow cytometry to measure the shape of single cells/particles. We found that the impedance pulses triggered by micro-objects that are asymmetric in morphology show a tilting trend, and there is no such a tilting trend for symmetric ones. Therefore, we proposed a new metric, tilt index, to quantify the tilt level of the impedance pulses. Through simulation, we found that the value of tilt index tends to be zero for perfectly symmetrical objects, while the value is greater than zero for asymmetrical ones. Also, this metric was found to be independent on the trajectories (i.e., lateral, and z-direction shift) of the target micro-object. In experiments, we adopted a home-made lock-in amplifier and performed experiments on 10 μm polystyrene beads and Euglena gracilis (E. gracilis) cells with varying shapes. The experimental results coincided with the simulation results and demonstrated that the new metric (tilt index) enables the impedance cytometry to characterize the shape single cells/particles without microscopy or other optical setups. Copyright © 2021 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Tao Tang, Xun Liu, Ryota Kiya, Yigang Shen, Yapeng Yuan, Tianlong Zhang, Kengo Suzuki, Yo Tanaka, Ming Li, Yoichiroh Hosokawa, Yaxiaer Yalikun. Microscopic impedance cytometry for quantifying single cell shape. Biosensors & bioelectronics. 2021 Dec 01;193:113521

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PMID: 34380102

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