High-content analysis to leverage a robust phenotypic profiling approach to vascular modulation

Beverley J Isherwood, Rebecca E Walls, Mark E Roberts, Thomas M Houslay, Sandra R Brave, Simon T Barry, Neil O Carragher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Phenotypic screening seeks to identify substances that modulate phenotypes in a desired manner with the aim of progressing first-in-class agents. Successful campaigns require physiological relevance, robust screening, and an ability to deconvolute perturbed pathways. High-content analysis (HCA) is increasingly used in cell biology and offers one approach to prosecution of phenotypic screens, but challenges exist in exploitation where data generated are high volume and complex. We combine development of an organotypic model with novel HCA tools to map phenotypic responses to pharmacological perturbations. We describe implementation for angiogenesis, a process that has long been a focus for therapeutic intervention but has lacked robust models that recapitulate more completely mechanisms involved. The study used human primary endothelial cells in co-culture with stromal fibroblasts to model multiple aspects of angiogenic signaling: cell interactions, proliferation, migration, and differentiation. Multiple quantitative descriptors were derived from automated microscopy using custom-designed algorithms. Data were extracted using a bespoke informatics platform that integrates processing, statistics, and feature display into a streamlined workflow for building and interrogating fingerprints. Ninety compounds were characterized, defining mode of action by phenotype. Our approach for assessing phenotypic outcomes in complex assay models is robust and capable of supporting a range of phenotypic screens at scale.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1246-59
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Biomolecular Screening
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2013


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