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High-Throughput/High-Precision Sampling of Single Cells into ICP-MS for Elucidating Cellular Nanoparticles

Wei, Xing, Zheng, Dong-Hua, Cai, Yi, Jiang, Rui, Chen, Ming-Li, Yang, Ting, Xu, Zhang-Run, Yu, Yong-Liang, Wang, Jian-Hua
Analytical chemistry 2018 v.90 no.24 pp. 14543-14550
carbon, carbonates, droplets, encapsulation, geometry, hexanols, nanogold, nanoparticles, oxidation, oxygen, probability
In single-cell analysis with ICP-MS it is highly important to ensure precise single-cell sampling into ICP. For this purpose, a simple configured pressure-resistant MicroCross interface is developed for high-throughput/high-precision microdroplet generation and single-cell encapsulation. Aqueous cell suspension is ejected and sheared into droplets by tangent-flowing hexanol-continuous phases in the flow-focusing geometry of MicroCross, wherein to precisely trap a single cell into a droplet, with an extremely low probability of <0.005% for a single droplet encapsulating two cells. MicroCross interface is coupled with time-resolved ICP-MS (TRA-ICP-MS) for quantifying nanoparticles in single MCF-7 cells. At the optimal conditions, sufficient temporal-spatial resolution of the microdroplets is achieved facilitating high-throughput sampling of single cells into ICP. For solving the serious carbon deposition on the sampling cone and the unstable plasma torch caused by incomplete oxidation of hexanol phase in ICP, dimethyl carbonate (DMC) is for the first time used as a superb oxygen compensation reagent, which ensures adequate oxidation of hexanol, effectively eliminates the carbon deposition, and maintains a stable plasma. The single-cell analysis results indicated a remarkable discrepancy of the number of nanoparticles among the individual cells, falling into a range of 130–584 per MCF-7 cell in the case of AuNPs.