Computer time-lapse microscopy of living cells with the TSITOMIR video complex: scientific, medical, and ecological possibilities

  • Sergey E. Dromashko
  • Oleg V. Kvitko
  • Irina I. Koneva
  • Yaroslav I. Sheiko
  • Nina A. Balashenko
  • Svetlana N. Shevtsova
  • Anastasia S. Sapun
Keywords: time-lapse microscopy, TSITOMIR video complex, cell cultures, regenerative medicine, testing of natural and chemical substances


Reliable testing of effects of various natural and synthetic substances on cells is critical in searching for effective inhibitory or stimulating agents. Such work is essential in the discovery of anticancer drugs and testing toxicity of newly synthesized compounds. We use the TSITOMIR (“World of Cells”) computer video complex developed in cooperation with the Planar Corporation (Minsk). This complex is intended for time-lapse video microscopy of living cells (mouse and human fibroblasts, cells from human hair follicle and urine, cancer cultures). We elaborated a method for counting cells in low-density cell cultures to calculate the number of cells in the same growth substrate areas during cultivation, and to build cell genealogy trees. We also developed a non-invasive technology for receiving and analysing cells from human hair follicle and urine. It was shown that the cells obtained aged after a two-week cultivation, and therefore were not prone to immortalization, i.e., suitable for use in research for regenerative medicine. The method allows to obtain cell numbers in dynamics and makes it possible to get statistically valid quantitative data by using a minimal number of culture flasks. This approach can be exploited for testing antiproliferative and apoptosis-inducing effects, as well as the action of various substances and their combinations.