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ECIS Cell Monitoring

ECIS is a new and important method of monitoring cell behaviour, particularly:

  • Cell growth
  • Cell attachment and spreading
  • Cell motility and migration, for example after wounding
  • Barrier function of confluent cell layers

ECIS - Electric Cell-Substrate Impedance Sensing

The ECIS core technology is based on a technique of measuring the change in impedance of a small electrode to AC current flow. The heart of the measurement is a specialized slide that has 8 individual wells for cell culturing. The base of the device has an array of gold film electrodes that connect the ECIS electronics to each of the 8 wells.

A 96-well format is also available, as well as specialised 8-well arrays (eg. for chemotaxis and flow studies).

ECIS results are typically a time-course of impedance, showing differecnes in cell behaviour in different wells (which in turn have different treatments of course).

This simple example shows 3 wells: one with BCS cells, one with NRK cells, and a control well with no cells. As the cells spread over the substrate, the impedance rises very significantly.The measurement is continuous and highly reproducible.

Another example is an automated would-healing assay, in which a confluent cell layer is wounded precisely over the area of the electrode (using the optional Elevated Field module), and cell migration into the wounded area is monitored using ECIS and without microscopy.


ECIS Models

The ECIS Z is a turnkey system that provides researchers with an advanced, automated, noninvasive means to monitor cell behavior in real-time and without the use of labels.

The ECIS Z reliably monitors up to 16 or 96 tissue culture wells. The ability to interface with both 16 and 96 wells stations can provide significant cost savings when researchers want to either increase throughput for screening research or carry out studies requiring fewer wells.

The ECIS Z θ (Theta) is similar to the ECIS Z but interprets the complex impedance as both resistance and capacitance and can report these values as well as the simple impedance.

Using a mathematical model the system can report time courses changes in the barrier function (permeability) of confluent cell layers as well as membrane capacitance and a term (alpha) related to the close contacts between the cell's basal membrane and substrate. Other instruments that measure TER are designed for tight epithelial layers. ECIS is not limited to these layers and has proved particularly useful for studying endothelial cell layers continuously and in real time.

Both models consist of a system controller, 16 and/or 96 well station, arrays, and computer. The integrated software runs on XP, Vista or Mac OS. Optional accessories include:

  • An Elevated Field Module to carry out automated wound-healing and electroporation experiments.
  • A Flow Module for specialized cell applications under flow conditions.

Ecis Z

Wound healing assay
Ecis 8Z

The ECIS 8Z The ECIS 8Z monitors the simple impedance (Z) of adherent cells growing upon gold electrodes. The ECIS 8Z addresses 8 independent electrodes in 1, 2, or 8 well cultureware via an integrated clamp. The ECIS 8Z does not accept 16 or 96 well array stations.

The ECIS 8Z includes the elevated field module to carry out automated wound-healing and cell migration experiments. Optional accessories include:

  • The ECIS flow pump for specialized cell applications under flow conditions.
  • A CO2 stage incubator to allow simultaneous ECIS and optical measurements.
  • A specially adapted hypoxia chamber to conduct ECIS experiments in a controlled gas environment.


For more technical details and application notes, please see the Applied Biophysics website.

For pricing and other information, please email or call us.

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