Cell growth characterization during culturing is an important issue in a variety of biomedical applications. In this study an electrical bioimpedance spectroscopy-based multi-electrode culture monitoring system was developed to characterize cell growth. A PC12 cell line was cultured for the cell growth study. The bioimpedance variations for PC12 cell growth within the initial 12 h were measured over a range between 1 kHz and 4 MHz at three different medium concentrations. Within this frequency range, the largest bioimpedance value was 1.9 times the smallest bioimpedance value. The phase angle decreased over the range from 1 to 10 kHz when cells were growing. Then, the phase angle approached a constant over the frequency range between 10 kHz and 2 MHz. Thereafter, the phase angle increased rapidly from 20 to 52 degrees during cell culturing between 8 and 12 h at 4 MHz. The maximum cell number after culturing for 12 h increased by 25.8% for the control sites with poly-D-lysine (PDL) pastes. For the normal growth factor, the cell number increased up to 4.78 times from 8 to 12 h, but only 0.96 and 1.60 times for the other two medium growth factors. The correlation coefficients between impedance and cell number were 0.868 (coating with PDL), and 0.836 (without PDL) for the normal concentration medium. Thus, impedance may be used as an index for cell growth characterization.
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