Investigation on lysosomal accumulation by a quantitative analysis of 2D phase-maps in digital holography microscopy

Authors: Giusy Giugliano, Michela Schiavo, Daniele Pirone, Jaromír Bèhal, Vittorio Bianco, Sandro Montefusco, Pasquale Memmolo, Lisa Miccio, Pietro Ferraro, Diego L. Medina
Year: 2024
Sources: Journial of Quantitative Cell Science - Citometry

Lysosomes are the terminal end of catabolic pathways in the cell, as well as signaling centers performing important functions such as the recycling of macromolecules, organelles, and nutrient adaptation. The importance of lysosomes in human health is supported by the fact that the deficiency of most lysosomal genes causes monogenic diseases called as a group Lysosomal Storage Diseases (LSDs). A common phenotypic hallmark of LSDs is the expansion of the lysosomal compartment that can be detected by using conventional imaging methods based on immunofluorescence protocols or overexpression of tagged lysosomal proteins. These methods require the alteration of the cellular architecture (i.e., due to fixation methods), can alter the behavior of cells (i.e., by the overexpression of proteins), and require sample preparation and the accurate selection of compatible fluorescent markers in relation to the type of analysis, therefore limiting the possibility of characterizing cellular status with simplicity. Therefore, a quantitative and label-free methodology, such as Quantitative Phase Imaging through Digital Holographic (QPI-DH), for the microscopic imaging of lysosomes in health and disease conditions may represent an important advance to study and effectively diagnose the presence of lysosomal storage in human disease. Here we proof the effectiveness of the QPI-DH method in accomplishing the detection of the lysosomal compartment using mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) derived from a Mucopolysaccharidosis type III-A (MSP-IIIA) mouse model, and comparing them with wild-type (WT) MEFs. We found that it is possible to identify label-free biomarkers able to supply a first pre-screening of the two populations, thus showing that QPI-DH can be a suitable candidate to surpass fluorescent drawbacks in the detection of lysosomes dysfunction. An appropriate numerical procedure was developed for detecting and evaluate such cellular substructures from in vitro cells cultures. Results reported in this study are encouraging about the further development of the proposed QPI-DH approach for such type of investigations about LSDs.


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