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Lab Chip. 2008 Apr;8(4):519-26. doi: 10.1039/b717759c. Epub 2008 Feb 25.

Digital microfluidics for cell-based assays.

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  • 1Institute for Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering, University of Toronto, 164 College St., Toronto, ON M5S 3G9, Canada.


We introduce a new method for implementing cell-based assays. The method is based on digital microfluidics (DMF) which is used to actuate nanolitre droplets of reagents and cells on a planar array of electrodes. We demonstrate that this method is advantageous for cell-based assays because of automated manipulation of multiple reagents in addition to reduced reagent use and analysis time. No adverse effects of actuation by DMF were observed in assays for cell viability, proliferation, and biochemistry. A cytotoxicity assay using Jurkat T-cells was performed using the new method, which had approximately 20 times higher sensitivity than a conventional well plate assay. These results suggest that DMF has great potential as a simple yet versatile analytical tool for implementing cell-based assays on the microscale.

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