Cell-seeded 3D scaffolds as in vitro models for electroporation

Paola Brun, Monica Dettin, Luca Giovanni Campana, Fabrizio Dughiero, Paolo Sgarbossa, Clara Bernardello, Anna Lisa Tosi, Annj Zamuner, Elisabetta Sieni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Electroporation of cells is usually studied using cell suspensions or monolayer cultures. 3D scaffolds for cell culture have been recently designed in order to reproduce in vitro the complex and multifactorial environment experimented in vivo by cells. In fact, it is well known that 2D cell cultures are not able to simulate the complex interactions between the cells and their extracellular matrix (ECM). Recently, some examples of 3D models, like spheroids, have been investigated also in the electroporation field. Spheroids have been proposed in electrochemotherapy (ECT) studies to mimic tumor in vivo conditions: they are easy-to-handle 3D models but their sensitivity to electric field pulses depends from their diameter and, more interestingly, despite being relevant for intercellular junctions, they are not so much so for cell-ECM interactions. In this work, we propose a 3D macroscopic myxoid matrix for cell culture that would mimic the in vivo environment of myxoid stroma tumors. The myxoid stroma consists of abundant basic substances with large amounts of glycosaminoglycans (hyaluronic acid) and proteoglycans, poor collagen fibers and no elastin content. In the proposed approach, tumor cells seeded on 3D scaffolds mimic of myxoid stroma can establish both cell-cell and cell-ECM 3D interactions. The MCF7 cells (human breast adenocarcinoma cell line) were seeded in complete culture medium. Cell cultures were incubated at 37 °C for either 24 h, 3 days or 7 day. Some samples were used to assess cell vitality using 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazolyl-2)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) test and others for electroporation tests and for histopathological analysis. The electroporation has been verified by the fluorescent dye Propidium cellular uptake. The proposed myxoid stroma scaffold induces cell proliferation and shows fibrous structures produced by cells, the concentration of which increases with culture time. The proposed matrix will be used for further investigations as a new scaffold for cell culture. Tumor cells grown into these new scaffolds will be used to evaluate electroporation including the stroma effect.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-24
Number of pages10
Early online dateAug 30 2018
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 2019


  • 3D scaffold
  • Electroporation
  • MCF7
  • Myxoid stroma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Electrochemistry


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