High Content Imaging & High Throughput Assays
One of the advantages of in vitro test methods is that they lend themselves to high throughput approaches. These methods provide fast and economical means of screening large libraries of chemical compounds and provide novel insights into molecular processes. In the EU-ToxRisk project we are making use of two approaches: high content imaging and high throughput toxicogenomic screening:
High Content Imaging
High content imaging refers to an automated platform that obtains quantitative data using automated microscopy of 2D or 3D cell cultures in multi-well plates. Multiple (fluorescent) dyes can be used to image cell structures or report the activity of genes of interest. Data analysis is performed using analytical software and provides fast, unbiased quantitative results of the location and amount of fluorescent signals over a given time course. This analysis can even be at the level of a single cell. Live cells can be imaged in real time or at set time points up for several days depending on the cell line and imaging set up.
High Throughput Assays
High throughput genomics assays allow measuring changes in gene transcription of cell lines in response to chemical compounds. By using multi-well plates as well as automated pipetting platforms it is possible to obtain information for many different test conditions. Gene transcription changes can be indicative of the mode of action of a chemical compound and the high throughput nature allows testing of the dynamics of this response. It is possible to screen for changes in just a few genes of interest or to conduct genome wide screens. Again, the analysis is performed using analytical software to obtain quantitative data on the relative changes of gene expression.