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J Neurol Sci. 2007 Jan 31;252(2):135-43. Epub 2007 Jan 4.

Applications of microfluidics for neuronal studies.

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Department of Neurology, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90033, USA.


Microfabrication processes have changed the technology used in consumer goods, and have now advanced into applications in biology. Microfluidic platforms are microfabricated tools that are gaining popularity for studies of molecular and cellular biology. These platforms can allow precise control of the environment surrounding individual cells and they have been used to study physiologic and pharmacologic responses at the single-cell level. This article reviews microfluidic technology with emphasis on advances that could apply to the study of the nervous system, including architecture for isolation of axons, integrated electrophysiology, patterned physical and chemical substrate cues, and devices for the precisely controlled delivery of possible therapeutic agents such as trophic factors and drugs. The potential of these chips for the study of neurological diseases is also discussed.

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