Into the depths: Techniques for in vitro three-dimensional microtissue visualization.

Full Metadata


Into the depths: Techniques for in vitro three-dimensional microtissue visualization.
Kabadi, Pranita K. (Author)
Vantangoli, Marguerite M. (Author)
Rodd, April L. (Author)
Leary, Elizabeth (Author)
Madnick , Samantha J. (Author)
Kane, Agnes (Author)
Boekelheide, Kim (Author)
Date Created
Three-dimensional (3-D) in vitro platforms have been shown to closely recapitulate human physiology when compared with conventional two-dimensional (2-D) in vitro or in vivo animal model systems. This confers a substantial advantage in evaluating disease mechanisms, pharmaceutical drug discovery, and toxicity testing. Despite the benefits of 3-D cell culture, limitations in visualization and imaging of 3-D microtissues present significant challenges. Here we optimized histology and microscopy techniques to overcome the constraints of 3-D imaging. For morphological assessment of 3-D microtissues of several cell types, different time points, and different sizes, a two-step glycol methacrylate embedding protocol for evaluating 3-D microtissues produced using agarose hydrogels improved resolution of nuclear and cellular histopathology characteristic of cell death and proliferation. Additional immunohistochemistry, immunofluorescence, and in situ immunostaining techniques were successfully adapted to these microtissues and enhanced by optical clearing. Utilizing the Clear(T2) protocol greatly increased fluorescence signal intensity, imaging depth, and clarity, allowing for more complete confocal fluorescence microscopy imaging of these 3-D microtissues compared with uncleared samples. The refined techniques presented here address the key challenges associated with 3-D imaging, providing new and alternative methods in evaluating disease pathogenesis, delineating toxicity pathways, and enhancing the versatility of 3-D in vitro testing systems in pharmacological and toxicological applications.
3-D in vitro testing systems
3-D microtissues
This research is supported by NIEHS Training Grant T32 ES007272, the NIEHS Superfund Research Program P42 ES013660, BP/The Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative through the Consortium for Molecular Engineering of Dispersant Systems (CMEDS), and the generous gift of Donna McGraw Weiss ‘89 and Jason Weiss.
Access Conditions
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License


Kabadi, Pranita K., Vantangoli, Marguerite M., Rodd, April L., et al., "Into the depths: Techniques for in vitro three-dimensional microtissue visualization." (2015). Kane Lab Publications. Brown Digital Repository. Brown University Library.



  • This archive contains the files of publications, author manuscripts, conference papers and proceedings, and research posters authored by members of the Kane Lab for sharing with other researchers and the public.