Quantitative volumetric Raman imaging of three dimensional cell cultures

Nat Commun. 2017 Mar 22;8:14843. doi: 10.1038/ncomms14843.


The ability to simultaneously image multiple biomolecules in biologically relevant three-dimensional (3D) cell culture environments would contribute greatly to the understanding of complex cellular mechanisms and cell-material interactions. Here, we present a computational framework for label-free quantitative volumetric Raman imaging (qVRI). We apply qVRI to a selection of biological systems: human pluripotent stem cells with their cardiac derivatives, monocytes and monocyte-derived macrophages in conventional cell culture systems and mesenchymal stem cells inside biomimetic hydrogels that supplied a 3D cell culture environment. We demonstrate visualization and quantification of fine details in cell shape, cytoplasm, nucleus, lipid bodies and cytoskeletal structures in 3D with unprecedented biomolecular specificity for vibrational microspectroscopy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Culture Techniques / methods*
  • Humans
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional*
  • Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells / cytology
  • Lipids / analysis
  • Macrophages / cytology
  • Monocytes / cytology
  • Myocytes, Cardiac / cytology
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Spectrum Analysis, Raman*


  • Lipids