Investigating dielectric properties of different stages of syngeneic murine ovarian cancer cells.


Biomicrofluidics 2013; 7:011809 

Salmanzadeh A1,2, Sano MB1, Gallo-Villanueva RC1, Roberts PC3, Schmelz EM4,*, Davalos RV1,2,*

1School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences, Virginia Tech-Wake Forest University, Blacksburg, VA; departments of 2Engineering Science and Mechanics, 3Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology, 4Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA.


In this study, the electrical properties of four different stages of mouse ovarian surface epithelial (MOSE) cells were investigated using contactless dielectrophoresis (cDEP). Dielectrophoresis is the motion of a particle due to its polarization within a non-uniform electric field and is dependent on cells’ intrinsic bioelectrical properties and the frequency of the applied electric field. This study expands the work from our previous report describing for the first time the crossover frequency and cell specific membrane capacitance of different stages of cancer cells that are derived from the same cell line.

The crossover frequency is the point at which the force the cell experiences shifts from negative to positive and can be used to calculate the specific membrane capacitance of the cell. The specific membrane capacitance increased as the stage of malignancy advanced from 15.39±1.54 mF m-2 for a non-malignant benign stage to 26.42±1.22 mF m-2 for the most aggressive stage.

These differences can be the result of morphological differences due to changes in the cytoskeleton structure, specifically the decrease of the level of actin filaments in the cytoskeleton structure of the transformed MOSE cells. Studying the electrical properties of MOSE cells provides important information as a first step to develop cancer-treatment techniques which could partially reverse the cytoskeleton disorganization of malignant cells to a morphology more similar to that of benign cells.