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Cytometry. Part A : the journal of the International Society for Analytical Cytology

Chromatic aberration correction and deconvolution for UV sensitive imaging of fluorescent sterols in cytoplasmic lipid droplets.


PMID 18561197

Abstract

Intrinsically fluorescent sterols, like dehydroergosterol (DHE), mimic cholesterol closely and are therefore suitable to determine cholesterol transport by fluorescence microscopy. Disadvantages of DHE are its low quantum yield, rapid bleaching, and the fact that its excitation and emission is in the UV region of the spectrum. Thus, one has to deal with chromatic aberration and low signal-to-noise ratio. We developed a method to correct for chromatic aberration between the UV channel and the red/green channel in multicolor imaging of DHE compared with the lipid droplet marker Nile Red in living macrophage foam cells and in adipocytes. We used deconvolution microscopy and developed image segmentation techniques to assess the DHE content of lipid droplets in both cell types in an automated manner. Pulse-chase studies and colocalization analysis were performed to monitor the redistribution of DHE upon adipocyte differentiation. DHE is targeted to transferrin-positive recycling endosomes in preadipocytes but associates with droplets in mature adipocytes. Only in adipocytes but not in foam cells fluorescent sterol was confined to the droplet-limiting membrane. We developed an approach to visualize and quantify sterol content of lipid droplets in living cells with potential for automated high content screening of cellular sterol transport.

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