Measuring permeability with a whole cell-based biosensor as an alternate assay for angiogenesis: Comparison with common in vitro assays

Gargi Ghosh, Ishan Mehta, Abagail L. Cornette, Kimberly W. Anderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Angiogenesis plays cardinal role in normal developmental processes as well as in numerous pathologies. Multiple cytokines are released and act simultaneously to activate endothelial cells in vivo. The present study investigated the relative ability of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF), hepatocyte growth factor (HGF), tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α) in modulating cell monolayer permeability, migration, proliferation and tube formation individually and in combination. While the common methods for assaying angiogenesis were conducted for studying cell migration, proliferation and differentiation, endothelial cell monolayer permeability studies were carried out using a whole cell-based biosensor. The biosensor, consisting of a confluent monolayer of human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) on a potassium ion-selective electrode, takes advantage of cell monolayer permeability dysfunction to detect the presence of small quantities of cytokines. When a confluent monolayer of cells was formed on the membrane surface, the response of the electrode toward the marker ion, potassium, was inhibited. The response obtained after exposing this sensor to different cytokines for 1 and 3 h, can be attributed to the modulation of monolayer permeability by these cytokines. The present study demonstrated that at the concentrations experimented with, the relative change in permeability assay in the presence of cytokines compared to the control was much higher than that observed in other assays, thereby bolstering the potential of the biosensor to act as a quick screening tool for angiogenesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1109-1116
Number of pages8
JournalBiosensors and Bioelectronics
Issue number7
StatePublished - Feb 28 2008

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors thank Kentucky Science and Engineering Foundation (KSEF) for funding this research.


  • Angiogenesis
  • Cell-based biosensor
  • Cytokines
  • Permeability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biophysics
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Electrochemistry


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