Measurement of endogenous free and bound NAD(P)H relative concentrations in living cells is a useful method for monitoring aspects of cellular metabolism, because the NADH/NAD+ reduction-oxidation pair is crucial for electron transfer through the mitochondrial electron transport chain. Variations of the free and bound NAD(P)H ratio are also implicated in cellular bioenergetic and biosynthetic metabolic changes accompanying cancer. This study uses two-photon fluorescence lifetime imaging (FLIM) to investigate metabolic changes in MCF10A premalignant breast cancer cells treated with a range of glycolysis inhibitors: namely, 2 deoxy-D-glucose, oxythiamine, lonidamine and 4-(chloromethyl) benzoyl chloride, as well as the mitochondrial membrane uncoupling agent carbonyl cyanide m-chlorophenylhydrazone (CCCP). Through systematic analysis of FLIM data from control and treated cancer cells we observed that all glycolytic inhibitors apart from lonidamine slightly decreased metabolic rate and that the presence of serum in the culture medium generally marginally protected cells from the effect of inhibitors. Direct production of glycolytic L-lactate was also measured in both treated and control cells. The combination of these two techniques gave valuable insights into cell metabolism and indicated that FLIM was more sensitive than traditional biochemical methods, as it directly measured metabolic changes within cells as compared to quantification of lactate secreted by metabolically active cells.
Drozdowicz-Tomsia, K., Anwer, A. G., Cahill, M. A., Madlum, K. N., Maki, A. M., Baker, M. S., & Goldys, E. M. (2014). Multiphoton fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy reveals free-to-bound NADH ratio changes associated with metabolic inhibition. Journal of Biomedical Optics, 19(8), 1-13. https://doi.org/10.1117/1.JBO.19.8.086016