Laser induced calcium oscillations in fluorescent calcium imaging

János Vincze, Nikolett Geyer, Gyula Diszházi, László Csernoch, Tamás Bíró, István Jóna, Beatrix Dienes, János Almássy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Phototoxicity is the most common problem investigators may encounter when performing live cell imaging. It develops due to excess laser exposure of cells loaded with fluorophores and can lead to often overlooked but significant artifacts, such as massive increase of intracellular Ca2+ concentration, which would make data interpretation problematic. Because information about laser- and dye-related changes in cytoplasmic calcium concentration is very limited, we aimed to describe this phenomenon to help investigators using laser scanning confocal microscopy in a non-invasive way. Therefore, in the present study we evaluated fluorescent fluctuations, which evolved in Fluo-3/4/8 loaded mouse pancreatic acinar cells during very low intensity laser excitation. We demonstrate that after standard loading procedure (2 μM Fluo-3/4/8-AM, 30 min at room temperature), applying 488 nm laser at as low as ca. 10 μW incident laser power (0.18 μW/μm2) at 1 Hz caused repetitive, 2-3 fold elevations of the resting intracellular fluorescence. The first latency and the pattern of the fluorescence fluctuations were laser power dependent and were related to Ca2+-release from intracellular stores, as they were abolished by BAPTA-AM treatment in Ca2+-free medium, but were not diminished by the reactive oxygen species (ROS) scavenger DMPO. Worryingly enough, the qualitative and quantitative features of the Ca2+-waves were practically indistinguishable from the responses evoked by secretagogue stimulation. Since using similar imaging conditions, a number of other cell types were reported to display spontaneous Ca2+ oscillations, we propose strategies to distinguish the real signals from artifacts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)253-261
Number of pages9
JournalGeneral physiology and biophysics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Physiology

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Laser induced calcium oscillations in fluorescent calcium imaging'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this