Studying lipid metabolism in 2D and 3D cell culture systems

Developing in vitro models that mimic in vivo tumor physiology

Cancer cells within in vivo tumors are also exposed to oxygen- and nutrient-gradients depending on their distance from the nearest blood vessels. The inefficient vascularization limits access of various nutrients –such as amino acids, sugars and lipids– to tumor tissues. Hence, the cancer cells are often exposed to metabolically challenging environment where oxygen and nutrient supply is scarce. This metabolic stress induced by oxygen and nutrient-deprivation is shown to have differential effect on cell proliferation rates in different cancer cell lines.  It is well-documented that three-dimensional (3D) cell culture systems more closely mimic the in vivo tumor growth than traditional 2D cell culture system.  In 3D cell culture systems cancer cells are exposed to oxygen and nutrition gradients as the cells within tumors growing in vivo. It has been shown that the behavior of 3D-cultured cells is more reflective of in vivo cellular responses. Both morphological and physiological differences have been noted between cells cultivated under 3D and 2D culture systems. It has been reported that cells in a 3D culture environment differ in gene, protein, and cell receptor expression from 2D-cultured cells. The expression patterns of various genes –involved in proliferation, angiogenesis, migration, invasion, and chemosensitivity– are shown to be different in 2D and 3D cell culture systems. One of our projects at Cancer Biology Lab, is to study the metabolic rewiring of cancer cells in both 2D and 3D cell culture systems.

Related theses from our research group

LevelStudent’s NameThesis TitleYear
PhDRimsha MunirStudying lipid metabolism in 2D and 3D cell culture systems: developing in vitro models that mimic in vivo tumor physiology.Work in progress
M.Phil.Maria RamzanEffect of hypoxia on cell proliferation and lipid-load:  A comparison between 2-dimensional (2D) and 3-dimensional (3D) cell culture systems2016-17