Measurement of Metabolites from Migrating Cells

Methods Mol Biol. 2021;2294:143-150. doi: 10.1007/978-1-0716-1350-4_10.


Metastasis is a multistep process that involves responses to extrinsic and intrinsic signals at every step. It is thus only truly appreciated in the context of a whole organism. Nevertheless, in vitro studies can be used to facilitate understanding of the possible factors contributing to any phenotype that is associated with metastatic competence. The use of migration assays-where monolayers of cells migrate to cover gaps or "wounds"-has been described for decades to identify signaling pathways that regulate motile competence and to screen for ways of interfering with this ability. Here we depict the combination of such an assay with assessment of indicators of carbon metabolism using commercially available assays. This enables identification of changes in cellular metabolism associated with actively migrating cells.

Keywords: Glucose consumption; Lactate production; Metastasis; Migration; Scratch assay.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Migration Assays / methods*
  • Cell Movement*
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Glucose / metabolism
  • Glycolysis*
  • Humans
  • Lactic Acid / metabolism
  • Metabolic Flux Analysis / methods*
  • Neoplasms / metabolism*


  • Lactic Acid
  • Glucose