Background: Set up of an automatic image processing based method that enables the motility of in vitro aggregated cells to be evaluated for a number of hours.
Methods: Our biological model included the PC-3 human prostate cancer cell line growing as a monolayer on the bottom of Falcon plastic dishes containing conventional culture media. Our equipment consisted of an incubator, an inverted phase contrast microscope, a Charge Coupled Device (CCD) video camera, and a computer equipped with an image processing software developed in our laboratory. This computer-assisted microscope analysis of aggregated cells enables global cluster motility to be evaluated. This analysis also enables the trajectory of each cell to be isolated and parametrized within a given cluster or, indeed, the trajectories of individual cells outside a cluster.
Results: The results show that motility inside a PC-3 cluster is not restricted to slight motion due to cluster expansion, but rather consists of a marked cell movement within the cluster.
Conclusions: The proposed equipment enables in vitro aggregated cell motility to be studied. This method can, therefore, be used in pharmacological studies in order to select anti-motility related compounds. The compounds selected by the equipment described could then be tested in vivo as potential anti-metastatic.