European Biophysics Journal

, Volume 48, Issue 3, pp 267–275 | Cite as

Discrimination of leukemic Jurkat cells from normal lymphocytes via novo label-free cytometry based on fluctuation of image gray values

  • Ishay Wohl
  • Naomi Zurgil
  • Yaron Hakuk
  • Maria Sobolev
  • Mordechai DeutschEmail author
Original Article


We introduce a simple, label-free cytometry technique, based on the spatio-temporal fluctuation analysis of pixel gray levels of a cell image utilizing the Gray Level Information Entropy (GLIE) function. In this study, the difference in GLIE random fluctuations and its biophysical etiology in a comparison cell model of leukemic Jurkat cells and human healthy donor lymphocytes was explored. A combination of common bright field microscopy and a unique imaging dish wherein cells are individually held untethered in a picoliter volume matrix of optical chambers was used. Random GLIE fluctuations were found to be greater in malignant Jurkat cells than in benign lymphocytes, while these fluctuations correlate with intracellular vesicle Mean Square Displacement (MSD) values and are inhibited by myosin-2 and adenosine triphosphate (ATP) inhibitors. These results suggest that the incoherent active forces acting on the cytoskeleton which cause mechanical dissipative fluctuation of the cytoskeletal and related intracellular content are the biophysical cellular mechanism behind the GLIE random fluctuation results. Analysis of the results in Jurkat cells and normal lymphocytes suggests the possible potential of this simple and automated label-free cytometry to identify malignancy, particularly in a diagnostic setup of multiple cell examination.


Biological optics Image analysis Digital imaging Microscopy Fourier transforms 



This study was endowed by the Bequest of Moshe-Shimon and Judith Weisbrodt.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflicts of interest

The authors declare no known conflicts of interest, financial or otherwise, associated with this publication and there has been no significant financial support for this work that could have influenced its outcome.

Supplementary material

249_2019_1351_MOESM1_ESM.docx (800 kb)
Supplementary file1 (DOCX 799 kb)


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Copyright information

© European Biophysical Societies' Association 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Biophysical Interdisciplinary Schottenstein Center for the Research and Technology of the Cellome, Physics DepartmentBar Ilan UniversityRamat-GanIsrael

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