Cell death detection and ionic homeostasis monitoring with digital holographic microscopy

Nicolas Pavillon*, Jonas Kühn, Pascal Jourdain, Christian Depeursinge, Pierre J. Magistretti, Pierre Marquet

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Digital holographic microscopy is an interferometric technique enabling the measurement of the quantitative phase shifts induced by cell bodies. We correlate the phase signal measured on neurons with calcium imaging measured by fluorescence on cells loaded with Fluo-4, to monitor responses to glutamate challenges, which provoke well-known calcium increases through activation of various membrane receptors. A very good correspondence can be identified between the two signals, showing the links between the phase signal, being a measure of the intracellular dilution, and the calcium concentration within cells. We then check cell viability by employing propidium iodide (PI), a fluorescent indicator relying on the cell membrane integrity loss to assess cell death. Strong intracellular calcium concentration is indeed known to induce excitotoxic effects, potentially inducing cell death. This enables showing that some cells cannot sustain the calcium saturation identified in our measurements, leading to subsequent cell death.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationNovel Biophotonic Techniques and Applications
StatePublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes
EventNovel Biophotonic Techniques and Applications - Munich, Germany
Duration: May 22 2011May 24 2011

Publication series

NameProgress in Biomedical Optics and Imaging - Proceedings of SPIE
ISSN (Print)1605-7422


OtherNovel Biophotonic Techniques and Applications


  • Calcium imaging
  • Cell biology
  • Cell death
  • Digital holography
  • Neurons

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Biomaterials
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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