Live cell imaging is the study of living cells using images acquired by time-lapse microscopy. It is used by scientists to give a better view of biological function through the study of cellular dynamics. In recent years, this technology has become widely accessible and there is an increasing number of leading research biologists using live-cell imaging techniques to produce pivotal publications in a wide range of research areas. Live cell imaging is becoming a requisite technique for cell biology, developmental biology, cancer biology, and many other related biomedical research laboratories.
A major challenge of live cell imaging is keeping cells alive and functioning as naturally as possible for the duration of the experiment. Cells require incubation throughout the experiment to keep the environment constant and not induce stress responses, which would alter the cellular process that is of interest.
Live-cell imaging systems are designed to operate inside a cell culture incubator to carefully control the temperature and CO2 concentration and allow cells to be cultured with minimum disruption.
In addition, cells are typically not exposed to light during their natural life cycle, so it is important for imaging applications to minimize light exposure to reduce phototoxicity and photobleaching. With well-designed systems, live cell assays allow research biologists and drug discovery scientists to discover more, achieve greater understanding and provide the confidence and reassurance that their results are true to life.
PerkinElmer’s dedicated live-cell imaging system, MuviCyte™, is designed to enable long term observations under optimal conditions in an incubator so live-cell research can be successfully performed over several days or weeks.
Additionally, our high-content screening systems, Opera Phenix™ and Operetta CLS™ provide the flexibility to run a wide-variety of live-cell assays, thus combining the benefits of observing live-cells over time with the quantitative, multiparametric data analysis required in the drug discovery process. When used with automation, our high-content screening systems can enable high-throughput live-cell assays.