Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry

, Volume 409, Issue 12, pp 3271–3277 | Cite as

High throughput and automatic colony formation assay based on impedance measurement technique

  • Kin Fong LeiEmail author
  • Chich-Hao Kao
  • Ngan-Ming TsangEmail author
Research Paper


To predict the response of in vivo tumors, in vitro culture of cell colonies was suggested to be a standard assay to achieve high clinical relevance. To describe the responses of cell colonies, the most widely used quantification method is to count the number and size of cell colonies under microscope. That makes the colony formation assay infeasible to be high throughput and automated. In this work, in situ analysis of cell colonies suspended in soft hydrogel was developed based on impedance measurement technique. Cell colonies cultured between a pair of parallel plate electrodes were successfully analyzed by coating a layer of base hydrogel on one side of electrode. Real-time and label-free monitoring of cell colonies was realized during the culture course. Impedance magnitude and phase angle respectively represented the summation effect of colony responses and size of colonies. In addition, dynamic response of drug-treated colonies was demonstrated. High throughput and automatic colony formation assay was realized to facilitate more objective assessments in cancer research.

Graphical Abstract

High throughput and automatic colony formation assay was realized by in situ impedimetric analysis across a pair of parallel plate electrodes in a culture chamber. Cell colonies suspended in soft hydrogel were cultured under the tested substance and their dynamic response was represented by impedance data.


Impedance measurement Parallel plate electrodes Colony formation assay 3D cell culture Chemosensitivity 



This work was supported by Ministry of Science and Technology, Taiwan (Project no. MOST103-2221-E-182-004-MY3) and Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, Linkou Branch, Taiwan (Project no. CMRPG3C1921 and BMRPC05).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

216_2017_270_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (358 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 358 kb)

(MP4 28985 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Graduate Institute of Medical MechatronicsChang Gung UniversityTaoyuanRepublic of China
  2. 2.Department of Mechanical EngineeringChang Gung UniversityTaoyuanRepublic of China
  3. 3.Department of Radiation OncologyChang Gung Memorial HospitalTaoyuanRepublic of China
  4. 4.School of Traditional Chinese MedicineChang Gung UniversityTaoyuanRepublic of China

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