Bacterial infection of macrophages induces decrease in refractive index

Andrew Ekpenyong, Si Ming Man, Sarra Achouri, Clare E. Bryant, Jochen Guck, Kevin J. Chalut

Research output: Contribution to journalLetter

34 Scopus citations


Infection of cells by pathogens leads to both biochemical and structural modifications of the host cell. To study the structural modifications in a label-free manner, we use digital holographic microscopy, DHM, to obtain the integral refractive index distribution of cells. Primary murine bone marrow derived macrophages (BMDM) infected with Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium, undergo highly significant reduction in refractive index, RI, compared to uninfected cells. Infected BMDM cells from genetically modified mice lacking an inflammatory protein that causes cell death, caspase 1, also exhibit similar decrease in RI. These data suggest that any reduction in RI of Salmonella -infected BMDMs is pathogen induced and independent of caspase 1-induced inflammation or cell death. This finding suggests DHM may be useful for general real time monitoring of host cell interactions with infectious pathogens.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)393-397
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Biophotonics
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2013
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Engineering(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)

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