Removing the bottlenecks of cell culture metabolomics: fast normalization procedure, correlation of metabolites to cell number, and impact of the cell harvesting method

Caroline Muschet, Gabriele Möller, Cornelia Prehn, Martin Hrabě de Angelis, Jerzy Adamski, Janina Tokarz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations

Abstract

Introduction: Although cultured cells are nowadays regularly analyzed by metabolomics technologies, some issues in study setup and data processing are still not resolved to complete satisfaction: a suitable harvesting method for adherent cells, a fast and robust method for data normalization, and the proof that metabolite levels can be normalized to cell number. Objectives: We intended to develop a fast method for normalization of cell culture metabolomics samples, to analyze how metabolite levels correlate with cell numbers, and to elucidate the impact of the kind of harvesting on measured metabolite profiles. Methods: We cultured four different human cell lines and used them to develop a fluorescence-based method for DNA quantification. Further, we assessed the correlation between metabolite levels and cell numbers and focused on the impact of the harvesting method (scraping or trypsinization) on the metabolite profile. Results: We developed a fast, sensitive and robust fluorescence-based method for DNA quantification showing excellent linear correlation between fluorescence intensities and cell numbers for all cell lines. Furthermore, 82–97 % of the measured intracellular metabolites displayed linear correlation between metabolite concentrations and cell numbers. We observed differences in amino acids, biogenic amines, and lipid levels between trypsinized and scraped cells. Conclusion: We offer a fast, robust, and validated normalization method for cell culture metabolomics samples and demonstrate the eligibility of the normalization of metabolomics data to the cell number. We show a cell line and metabolite-specific impact of the harvesting method on metabolite concentrations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number151
JournalMetabolomics
Volume12
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2016
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Cell culture metabolomics
  • Harvesting
  • Metabolite–cell number correlation
  • Normalization method

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