Metabolic Profiling of healthy and cancerous tissues in 2D and 3D

Russell S, Wojtkowiak J, Neilson A, Gillies RJ

Sci Rep. 2017;7:15285.
14 December 2017
Metabolism is a compartmentalized process, and it is apparent in studying cancer that tumors, like normal tissues, demonstrate metabolic cooperation between different cell types. Metabolic profiling of cells in 2D culture systems often fails to reflect the metabolism occurring within tissues in vivo due to lack of other cell types and 3D interaction. We designed a tooling and methodology to metabolically profile and compare 2D cultures with cancer cell spheroids, and microtissue slices from tumors, and normal organs. We observed differences in the basal metabolism of 2D and 3D cell cultures in response to metabolic inhibitors, and chemotherapeutics. The metabolicprofiles of microtissues derived from normal organs (heart, kidney) were relatively consistent when comparing microtissues derived from the same organ. Treatment of heart and kidney microtissues with cardio- or nephro-toxins had early and marked effects on tissue metabolism. In contrast, microtissues derived from different regions of the same tumors exhibited significant metabolic heterogeneity, which correlated to histology. Hence, metabolic profilingof complex microtissues is necessary to understand the effects of metabolic co-operation and how this interaction, not only can be targeted for treatment, but this method can be used as a reproducible, early and sensitive measure of drug toxicity.