loading page

3D cell culture monitoring: opportunities and challenges for impedance spectroscopy
  • Sally McArthur,
  • Sorel De Leon,
  • Aleta Pupovac
Sally McArthur
Swinburne University of Technology - Hawthorn Campus

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

Author Profile
Sorel De Leon
Swinburne University of Technology - Hawthorn Campus
Author Profile
Aleta Pupovac
Swinburne University of Technology - Hawthorn Campus
Author Profile


3D cell culture has developed rapidly over the past 5-10 years with the goal of better replicating human physiology and tissue complexity in the laboratory. Quantifying cellular responses is fundamental in understanding how cells and tissues respond during their growth cycle and in response to external stimuli. There is a need to develop and validate tools that can give insight into cell number, viability and distribution in real-time, non-destructively and without the use of stains or other labelling processes. Impedance spectroscopy can address all of these challenges and is currently used both commercially and in academic laboratories to measure cellular processes in 2D cell culture systems. However, its use in 3D cultures is not straight forward due to the complexity of the electrical circuit model of 3D tissues. In addition, there are challenges in the design and integration of electrodes within 3D cell culture systems. Researchers have used a range of strategies to implement impedance spectroscopy in 3D systems. This review examines electrode design, integration and outcomes of a range of impedance spectroscopy studies and multi-parametric systems relevant to 3D cell cultures. While these systems provide whole culture data, impedance tomography approaches have shown how this technique can be used to achieve spatial resolution. This review demonstrates how impedance spectroscopy and tomography can be used to provide real-time sensing in 3D cell cultures, but challenges remain in integrating electrodes without affecting cell culture functionality. If these challenges can be addressed and more realistic electrical models for 3D tissues developed, the implementation of impedance-based systems will be able to provide real-time, quantitative tracking of 3D cell culture systems.
19 Nov 2019Submitted to Biotechnology and Bioengineering
19 Nov 2019Submission Checks Completed
19 Nov 2019Assigned to Editor
19 Nov 2019Reviewer(s) Assigned
31 Dec 2019Editorial Decision: Revise Minor
31 Dec 2019Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
16 Jan 20201st Revision Received
16 Jan 2020Submission Checks Completed
16 Jan 2020Assigned to Editor
16 Jan 2020Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
16 Jan 2020Editorial Decision: Accept