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Iron Transport in Cancer Cell Culture Suspensions Measured by Cell Magnetophoresis

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journal contribution
posted on 15.05.2012, 00:00 by Xiaoxia Jin, Jeffrey J. Chalmers, Maciej Zborowski
Cell motion in a magnetic field reveals the presence of intracellular paramagnetic elements, such as iron or manganese. Under controlled field and liquid media composition, such motion previously allowed us to compare the paramagnetic contribution to cell magnetic susceptibility in erythrocytes differing in the spin state of heme associated with hemoglobin. The method is now tested on cells with less obvious paramagnetic properties: cell cultures derived from human cancers to determine if the magnetophoretic mobility (MM) measurement is sufficiently sensitive to the dysregulation of the intracellular iron metabolism as suggested by reports on loss of iron homeostasis in cancer. The cell lines included hepatocellular carcinoma (Hep 3B 2.1–7 and Hep G2), promyelocytic (HL-60) and chronic myelogenous (K-562) leukemias, histiocytic lymphoma (U-937), tongue (CAL 27) and pharyngeal (Detroit 562) carcinomas, and epitheloid carcinoma (HeLa), whose MM was measured in complete media with standard and elevated soluble iron (ferric nitrate and ferric ammonium citrate), against oxy- and met-hemoglobin erythrocytes used as controls. Different cell lines responded differently to the magnetic field and the soluble iron concentrations in culture media establishing the possibility of single cell elemental analysis by magnetophoresis and magnetic cell separation based upon differences in intracellular iron concentration.