We present a method to induce electric fields and drive electrotaxis (galvanotaxis) without the need for electrodes to be in contact with the media containing the cell cultures. We report experimental results using a modification of the transmembrane assay, demonstrating the hindrance of migration of breast cancer cells (SCP2) when an induced a.c. electric field is present in the appropriate direction (i.e. in the direction of migration). Of significance is that migration of these cells is hindered at electric field strengths many orders of magnitude (5 to 6) below those previously reported for d.c. electrotaxis, and even in the presence of a chemokine (SDF-1α) or a growth factor (EGF). Induced a.c. electric fields applied in the direction of migration are also shown to hinder motility of non-transformed human mammary epithelial cells (MCF10A) in the presence of the growth factor EGF. In addition, we also show how our method can be applied to other cell migration assays (scratch assay), and by changing the coil design and holder, that it is also compatible with commercially available multi-well culture plates.
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