O2 and cell metabolism

About this line of research

How much O2 do the cells receive in your body and tissue culture? How relevant it is and how much (or little) they can tolerate?

Over the years, our team has accumulated experience and tools, which can help you answer these questions: we continuously develop optical biosensor tools and probes enabling real-time O2 monitoring in the cells and extracellular matrix in a minimally invasive way. To do this, we employ the phenomena of the ‘phosphorescence quenching’ and a variety of chemically modified dyes, nanosensors and solid-state materials. Furthermore, we seek tools not only for measuring O2 gradients in 3D but also for manipulating them, using O2-binding materials with predictable release kinetics.

Moreover, O2 is not only a part of the cell and tissue microenvironment – it is also an important metabolite for aerobic cells and if we couple measurement of cell oxygenation with such auxiliary markers as mitochondrial polarisation, optical metabolic imaging and pH, but we can also learn more about cell metabolism in the organoids. All these parameters, when combined with the consideration of the growth medium composition, enable a deeper understanding of single-cell metabolic requirements during quiescence, differentiation and cell death processes.


  1. Okkelman IA, Vercruysse C, Kondrashina AV, Borisov SM, Dmitriev RI: Affordable Oxygen Microscopy-Assisted Biofabrication of Multicellular Spheroids. JoVE 2022(182):e63403. Video protocol
  2. Papkovsky DB, Dmitriev RI: Imaging of oxygen and hypoxia in cell and tissue samples. Cell Mol Life Sci 2018, 75(16):2963-2980.
  3. Dmitriev RI, Borisov SM, Düssmann H, Sun S, Müller BJ, Prehn J, Baklaushev VP, Klimant I, Papkovsky DB: Versatile Conjugated Polymer Nanoparticles for High-Resolution O2 Imaging in Cells and 3D Tissue Models. ACS Nano 2015, 9(5):5275-5288.
  4. Jenkins J, Dmitriev RI, Morten K, McDermott KW, Papkovsky DB: Oxygen-sensing scaffolds for 3-dimensional cell and tissue culture. Acta Biomaterialia 2015, 16(0):126-135.


  • Ruslan Dmitriev, professor/head of the group

+32 9 332 51 33