Cell volume changes during apoptosis monitored in real time using digital holographic microscopy

Alexander Khmaladze, Rebecca L. Matz, Tamir Epstein, Joshua Jasensky, Mark M. Banaszak Holl, Zhan Chen

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75 Citations (Scopus)


Cellular volume changes play important roles in many processes associated with the normal cell activity, as well as various diseases. Consequently, there is a considerable need to accurately measure volumes of both individual cells and cell populations as a function of time. In this study, we have monitored cell volume changes in real time during apoptosis using digital holographic microscopy. Cell volume changes were deduced from the measured phase change of light transmitted through cells. Our digital holographic experiments showed that after exposure to 1 μM staurosporine for 4. h, the volumes of KB cells were reduced by ∼50-60%, which is consistent with previous results obtained using electronic cell sizing and atomic force microscopy. In comparison with other techniques, digital holographic microscopy is advantageous because it employs noninvasive detection, has high time resolution, real time measurement capability, and the ability to simultaneously investigate time-dependent volume changes of both individual cells and cell populations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)270-278
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Structural Biology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Apoptosis
  • Cell volume measurements
  • Digital holographic microscopy
  • Dual-wavelength digital holography

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