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A hybrid microfluidic-vacuum device for direct interfacing with conventional cell culture methods

  • Author(s): Chung, Bong Geun
  • Park, Jeong Won
  • Hu, Jia Sheng
  • Huang, Carlos
  • Monuki, Edwin S
  • Jeon, Noo
  • et al.
Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License
Abstract

Background

Microfluidics is an enabling technology with a number of advantages over traditional tissue culture methods when precise control of cellular microenvironment is required. However, there are a number of practical and technical limitations that impede wider implementation in routine biomedical research. Specialized equipment and protocols required for fabrication and setting up microfluidic experiments present hurdles for routine use by most biology laboratories.

Results

We have developed and validated a novel microfluidic device that can directly interface with conventional tissue culture methods to generate and maintain controlled soluble environments in a Petri dish. It incorporates separate sets of fluidic channels and vacuum networks on a single device that allows reversible application of microfluidic gradients onto wet cell culture surfaces. Stable, precise concentration gradients of soluble factors were generated using simple microfluidic channels that were attached to a perfusion system. We successfully demonstrated real-time optical live/dead cell imaging of neural stem cells exposed to a hydrogen peroxide gradient and chemotaxis of metastatic breast cancer cells in a growth factor gradient.

Conclusion

This paper describes the design and application of a versatile microfluidic device that can directly interface with conventional cell culture methods. This platform provides a simple yet versatile tool for incorporating the advantages of a microfluidic approach to biological assays without changing established tissue culture protocols.

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