Recent progress in cytometric technologies and their applications in ecotoxicology and environmental risk assessment


Environmental toxicology focuses on identifying and predicting impact of potentially toxic anthropogenic chemicals on biosphere at various levels of biological organization. Presently there is a significant drive to gain deeper understanding of cellular and sub-cellular mechanisms of ecotoxicity. Most notable is increased focus on elucidation of cellular-response networks, interactomes, and greater implementation of cell-based biotests using high-throughput procedures, while at the same time decreasing the reliance on standard animal models used in ecotoxicity testing. This is aimed at discovery and interpretation of molecular pathways of ecotoxicity at large scale. In this regard, the applications of cytometry are perhaps one of the most fundamental prospective analytical tools for the next generation and high-throughput ecotoxicology research. The diversity of this modern technology spans flow, laser-scanning, imaging, and more recently, Raman as well as mass cytometry. The cornerstone advantages of cytometry include the possibility of multi-parameter measurements, gating and rapid analysis. Cytometry overcomes, thus, limitations of traditional bulk techniques such as spectrophotometry or gel-based techniques that average the results from pooled cell populations or small model organisms. Novel technologies such as cell imaging in flow, laser scanning cytometry, as well as mass cytometry provide innovative and tremendously powerful capabilities to analyze cells, tissues as well as to perform in situ analysis of small model organisms. In this review, we outline cytometry as a tremendously diverse field that is still vastly underutilized and often largely unknown in environmental sciences. The main motivation of this work is to highlight the potential and wide-reaching applications of cytometry in ecotoxicology, guide environmental scientists in the technological aspects as well as popularize its broader adoption in environmental risk assessment.

Authors: Donald Wlodkowic, Aleksandra Czerw, Beata Karakiewicz, Andrzej Deptała
; Full Source: Cytometry. Part A : the journal of the International Society for Analytical Cytology 2021 Oct 15. doi: 10.1002/cyto.a.24508.