Lung cell fiber evanescent wave spectroscopic biosensing of inhalation health hazards

Mark R. Riley, Pierre Lucas, David Le Coq, Christophe Juncker, Dianne E. Boesewetter, Jayne L. Collier, Diana M. DeRosa, Matthew E. Katterman, Catherine Boussard-Plédel, Bruno Bureau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Health risks associated with the inhalation of biological materials have been a topic of great concern; however, there are no rapid and automatable methods available to evaluate the potential health impact of inhaled materials. Here we describe a novel approach to evaluate the potential toxic effects of materials evaluated through cell-based spectroscopic analysis. Anchorage-dependent cells are grown on the surface of optical fibers transparent to infrared light. The probe system is composed of a single chalcogenide fiber (composed of Te, As, and Se) acting as both the sensor and transmission line for infrared optical signals. The cells are exposed to potential toxins and alterations of cellular composition are monitored through their impact on cellular spectral features. The signal is collected via evanescent wave absorption along the tapered sensing zone of the fiber through spectral changes between 3,000 and 600 cm-1 (3,333-16,666 nm). Cell physiology, composition, and function are non-invasively tracked through monitoring infrared light absorption by the cell layer. This approach is demonstrated with an immortalized lung cell culture (A549, human lung carcinoma epithelia) in response to a variety of inhalation hazards including gliotoxin (a fungal metabolite), etoposide (a genotoxin), and methyl methanse-sulfonate (MMS, an alkylating agent). Gliotoxin impacts cell metabolism, etoposide impacts nucleic acids and the cell cycle, and MMS impacts nucleic acids and induces an immune response. This spectroscopic method is sensitive, non-invasive, and provides information on a wide range of cellular damage and response mechanisms and could prove useful for cell response screening of pharmaceuticals or for toxicological evaluations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)599-612
Number of pages14
JournalBiotechnology and Bioengineering
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 5 2006


  • Cell culture
  • Chalcogenide glass fiber
  • FTIR spectroscopy
  • Human lung cells
  • Toxicity monitoring

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology


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