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Lab Chip. 2005 Jan;5(1):102-7. Epub 2004 Jul 26.

Patterned cell culture inside microfluidic devices.

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  • 1Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of California at Irvine, 204 Rockwell Engineering Center, Irvine, CA 92697-2715, USA.


This paper describes a simple plasma-based dry etching method that enables patterned cell culture inside microfluidic devices by allowing patterning, fluidic bonding and sterilization steps to be carried out in a single step. This plasma-based dry etching method was used to pattern cell-adhesive and non-adhesive areas on the glass and polystyrene substrates. The patterned substrate was used for selective attachment and growth of human umbilical vein endothelial cells, MDA-MB-231 human breast cancer cells, NIH 3T3 mouse fibroblasts, and primary rat cortical neurons. Finally, we have successfully combined the dry-patterned substrate with a microfluidic device. Patterned primary rat neurons were maintained for up to 6 days inside the microfluidic devices and the neurons' somas and processes were confined to the cell-adhesive region. The method developed in this work offers a convenient way of micropatterning biomaterials for selective attachment of cells on the substrates, and enables culturing of patterned cells inside microfluidic devices for a number of biological research applications where cells need to be exposed to well-controlled fluidic microenvironment.

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