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Synchrotron Photothermal Infrared Nanospectroscopy of Drug-Induced Phospholipidosis in Macrophages

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Ka Lung Andrew Chan, Ioannis Lekkas, Mark Frogley, Gianfelice Cinque, Ali Altharawi, Gianluca Bello, Lea Ann Dailey

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8097-8107
Number of pages11
JournalAnalytical Chemistry
Issue number12
Accepted/In press12 May 2020
Published16 Jun 2020

King's Authors


Synchrotron resonance-enhanced infrared atomic force microscopy (RE-AFM-IR) is a near-field photothermal vibrational nanoprobe developed at Diamond Light Source (DLS), capable of measuring mid-infrared absorption spectra with spatial resolution around 100 nm. The present study reports a first application of synchrotron RE-AFM-IR to interrogate biological soft matter at the subcellular level, in this case, on a cellular model of drug-induced phospholipidosis (DIPL). J774A-1 macrophages were exposed to amiodarone (10 μM) or medium for 24 h and chemically fixed. AFM topography maps revealed amiodarone-treated cells with enlarged cytoplasm and very thin regions corresponding to collapsed vesicles. IR maps of the whole cell were analyzed by exploiting the RE-AFM-IR overall signal, i.e., the integrated RE-AFM-IR signal amplitude versus AFM-derived cell thickness, also on lateral resolution around 100 nm. Results show that vibrational band assignment was possible, and all characteristic peaks for lipids, proteins, and DNA/RNA were identified. Both peak ratio and unsupervised chemometric analysis of RE-AFM-IR nanospectra generated from the nuclear and perinuclear regions of untreated and amiodarone-treated cells showed that the perinuclear region (i.e., cytoplasm) of amiodarone-treated cells had significantly elevated band intensities in the regions corresponding to phosphate and carbonyl groups, indicating detection of phospholipid-rich inclusion bodies typical for cells with DIPL. The results of this study are of importance to demonstrate not only the applicability of Synchrotron RE-AFM-IR to soft biological matters with subcellular spatial resolution but also that the spectral information gathered from an individual submicron sample volume enables chemometric identification of treatment and biochemical differences between mammalian cells.

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