Time-lapse microscopic observation of non-dividing cells in cultured human osteosarcoma MG-63 cell line.
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Cancer stem cells resemble normal tissue-specific stem cells in many aspects, such as self-renewal and plasticity. Like their non-malignant counterparts, cancer stem cells are suggested to exhibit a relative quiescence. The established cancer cell lines reportedly harbor slow-proliferating cells that are positive for some cancer stem cells markers. However, the fate of these cells and their progeny remains unknown. We used time-lapse microscopy and the contrast-based segmentation algorithm to identify and monitor actively dividing and non-dividing cells in human osteosarcoma MG-63 cell line. Within the monitored field of view the non-dividing cells were represented by three cells that never divided, and one cell that attempted to divide, but failed cytokinesis, and later, after significantly prolonged division, produced the progeny with enlarged segmented nuclei, thus pointing to a possible mitotic catastrophe. Together, these cells initially constituted about 6.2% of the total number of seeded cells, yet only 0.02% of all cells at the end of the observation period when cells became confluent. Non-dividing cells were characterized by rounded shape, dark nuclei, random cytoplasmic streaming and subtle oscillatory movement, however, they did not migrate and rarely formed cell-cell contacts as compared to actively dividing cells. Our data indicate that the observed non-dividing MG-63 cells do not have a growth advantage over other cells and, therefore, they do not contribute to the cancer stem cells pool.