Phase-contrast images of cell monolayer for estimating integrity of cell-cell junctions


I heard somewhere that width of bright areas between cells in phase-contrast images of cells monolayer is somehow connected to the integrity of intercellular junctions (i.e. distance between cell membranes). Unfortunately, I can’t find any confirmation of this phenomenon and the possibility of its usage.

So, my questions are:

  1. Is it true?
  2. Where I can find more details on this topic?

Thanks in advance,

Hi Oleg -

In the most basic terms it makes sense, yes, if there are gaps, then the cells must not be connected, but, even if there are no gaps it doesn’t mean the junctions are strong, there is a lot of complicated biology involved. Better measures would be junctions markers or better yet, a junction marker that only stains when the junction is formed (if such a thing exists, maybe via phosporylation?). So I think using phase-contrast to make any kind of convincing statement of junction strength is a bit dubious (as a cell biologist). The primary literature is where I’d recommend looking for information on this topic. Good luck!

Thank you for sharing.

It’d be interesting to see if label-free prediction is possible with the (theoretical?) junction marker that only stains when the junction is formed.

It seems, like an interesting option to think about. Thank you.