Real-time and on-line monitoring of morphological cell parameters using electrical impedance spectroscopy measurements

Enric Sarró, Martí Lecina, Andreu Fontova, Francesc Gòdia, Ramon Bragós, Jordi J. Cairó

Research output: Indexed journal article Articlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: Acquisition of electrical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) measurements enables one to obtain information about the features of cell cultures, which can be applied for real-time and on-line monitoring purposes. RESULTS: Impedance measurements were carried out in three different cell specimens with different sizes and shapes (Vero cells, hybridoma and Escherichia coli) at different stages of cell culture, as well as during a controlled detachment process of an adherent animal cell line. The relaxation spectra obtained were fitted to a Cole impedance model and the corresponding parameters analyzed. The use of a four-electrodes measurement system decreased the dependency on the electrode interface's impedance, and thus resulted in a system more sensitive to the cell features. The EIS monitoring of different cultures expansion showed the expected inverse proportional relationship between the central relaxation frequency and the cell cross-sectional area. The morphological changes of fibroblast cells during the detachment processes were also studied. Interestingly, EIS displayed the proportional relationship between the α parameter of the Cole impedance model and the cell shape dispersion from spherical morphology (considering spherical shape ideality). CONCLUSION: The results obtained reveal the potential for developing a real-time monitoring tool for cell morphology features such as cell size and shape, which are involved in many cellular processes like cell expansion, differentiation, cell attachment or cell death.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1755-1762
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Chemical Technology and Biotechnology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Cell morphology
  • Cell size and shape
  • Cole Model
  • Electrical impedance spectroscopy
  • Four-electrode configuration
  • On-line monitoring


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