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Anal Chem. 2004 Sep 15;76(18):5257-64.

Microfluidic shear devices for quantitative analysis of cell adhesion.

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Department of Chemical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139, USA.


We describe the design, construction, and characterization of microfluidic devices for studying cell adhesion and cell mechanics. The method offers multiple advantages over previous approaches, including a wide range of distractive forces, high-throughput performance, simplicity in experimental setup and control, and potential for integration with other microanalytic modules. By manipulating the geometry and surface chemistry of the microdevices, we are able to vary the shear force and the biochemistry during an experiment. The dynamics of cell detachment under different conditions can be captured simultaneously using time-lapse videomicroscopy. We demonstrate assessment of cell adhesion to fibronectin-coated substrates as a function of the shear stress or fibronectin concentration in microchannels. Furthermore, a combined perfusion-shear device is designed to maintain cell viability for long-term culture as well as to introduce exogenous reagents for biochemical studies of cell adhesion regulation. In agreement with established literature, we show that fibroblasts cultured in the combined device reduced their adhesion strength to the substrate in response to epidermal growth factor stimulation.

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