Semi-quantitative monitoring of confluence of adherent mesenchymal stromal cells on calcium-phosphate granules by using widefield microscopy images

Filippo Piccinini, Michela Pierini, Enrico Lucarelli, Alessandro Bevilacqua

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


The analysis of cell confluence and proliferation is essential to design biomaterials and scaffolds to use as bone substitutes in clinical applications. Accordingly, several approaches have been proposed in the literature to estimate the area of the scaffold covered by cells. Nevertheless, most of the approaches rely on sophisticated equipment not employed for routine analyses, while the rest of them usually do not provide significant statistics about the cell distribution. This research aims at studying confluence and proliferation of mesenchymal stromal cells (MSC) adherent on OSPROLIFE®, a commercial biomaterial in the form of granules. In particular, we propose a Computer Vision approach that can routinely be employed to monitor the surface of the single granules covered by cells because only a standard widefield fluorescent microscope is required. In order to acquire significant statistics data, we analyse wide-area images built by using MicroMos v2.0, an updated version of a previously published software specific for stitching brightfield and phase-contrast images manually acquired via a widefield microscope. In particular, MicroMos v2.0 permits to build accurate “mosaics” of fluorescent images, after correcting vignetting and photo-bleaching effects, providing a consistent representation of a sample region containing numerous granules. Then, our method allows to make automatically a statistically significant estimate of the percentage of the area of the single granules covered by cells. Finally, by analysing hundreds of granules at different time intervals we also obtained reliable data regarding cell proliferation, confirming that not only MSC adhere onto the OSPROLIFE® granules, but even proliferate over time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2395-2410
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Materials Science: Materials in Medicine
Issue number10
StatePublished - Sep 20 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Bioengineering
  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering


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