Dual-emissive, oxygen-sensing boron nanoparticles quantify oxygen consumption rate in breast cancer cells.



Decreasing the oxygen consumption rate (OCR) of tumor cells is a powerful method for ameliorating tumor hypoxia. However, quantifying the change in OCR is challenging in complex experimental systems.


We present a method for quantifying the OCR of two tumor cell lines using oxygen-sensitive dual-emissive boron nanoparticles (BNPs). We hypothesize that our BNP results are equivalent to the standard Seahorse assay.


We quantified the spectral emissions of the BNP and accounted for external oxygen diffusion to quantify OCR over 24 h. The BNP-computed OCR of two breast cancer cell lines, E0771 and 4T07, were compared with their respective Seahorse assays. Both cell lines were also irradiated to quantify radiation-induced changes in the OCR.


Using a Bland-Altman analysis, our BNPs OCR was equivalent to the standard Seahorse assay. Moreover, in an additional experiment in which we irradiated the cells at their 50% survival fraction, the BNPs were sensitive enough to quantify 24% reduction in OCR after irradiation.


Our results conclude that the BNPs are a viable alternative to the Seahorse assay for quantifying the OCR in cells. The Bland-Altman analysis showed that these two methods result in equivalent OCR measurements. Future studies will extend the OCR measurements to complex systems including 3D cultures and in vivo models, in which OCR measurements cannot currently be made.





Published Version (Please cite this version)


Publication Info

Rickard, Ashlyn G, Meng Zhuang, Christopher A DeRosa, Xiaojie Zhang, Mark W Dewhirst, Cassandra L Fraser and Gregory M Palmer (2020). Dual-emissive, oxygen-sensing boron nanoparticles quantify oxygen consumption rate in breast cancer cells. Journal of biomedical optics, 25(11). 10.1117/1.jbo.25.11.116504 Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/22460.

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Ashlyn Rickard

Postdoctoral Associate

Gregory M. Palmer

Professor of Radiation Oncology

Greg Palmer obtained his B.S. in Biomedical Engineering from Marquette University in 2000, after which he obtained his Ph.D. in BME from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Radiation Oncology, Cancer Biology Division at Duke University Medical Center. His primary research focus has been identifying and exploiting the changes in absorption, scattering, and fluorescence properties of tissue associated with cancer progression and therapeutic response. To this end he has implemented a model-based approach for extracting absorber and scatterer properties from diffuse reflectance and fluorescence measurements. More recently he has developed quantitative imaging methodologies for intravital microscopy to characterize tumor functional and molecular response to radiation and chemotherapy. His awards have included the Jack Fowler Award from the Radiation Research Society.

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