Temperatures higher or lower than physiological temperature cause thermal stress, inducing cell damage and
death. These thermal effects are utilized in various medical treatments. One cellular response to stress is
morphological change. For example, vesicles and blebs often appear on the surface of the cell membrane.
Therefore, gaining a better understanding of the time-series of morphological changes in cells is important,
especially in relation to cell death. This study investigated the dynamics of morphological changes, including
mobility of adherent cultured cells, under low-temperature stress near physiological temperature, using
time-lapse three-dimensional imaging with digital holographic microscopy (DHM), which shows the
thickness distribution of cells. The dynamics were roughly classified into two categories: (a) “normal
behavior” and (b) “cell damage and death–related behavior.” Based on DHM data, the volume, projected
area, average and maximum thickness, and position of the cells were analyzed to investigate deformation of
cells, cell growth and division, formation of blebs, collapse of cell structure, and mobility (velocity) of cells.
2017 Japanese Society of Cryobiology and Cryotechnology