Boyden Chamber Assays
The Boyden chamber is a useful tool to study cell migration and cell invasion. It consists of a cylindrical cell culture insert nested inside the well of a cell culture plate. The insert contains a polycarbonate membrane at the bottom with a defined pore size.
Cells are seeded in the top of the insert in serum-free media, while serum or similar chemoattractants are placed in the well below. Migratory cells move through the pores toward the chemoattractant below and can be stained or quantified in a plate reader. Invasive cells may be similarly measured by the placement of a coating of extracellular matrix proteins on top of the membrane.
- Chemotaxis describes cell migration based on chemicals in a cell's surrounding environment. Cell chemotaxis can indicate migration either toward or away from a particular chemical signal.
- Haptotaxis is defined as cell migration along a gradient of extracellular matrix-bound chemoattractants. In these assays the Boyden chamber insert is coated on the underside with Collagen I or Fibronectin protein.
- Transmigration describes the migration of cells (usually leukocytes or tumor cells) through the vascular endothelium toward a chemoattractant.