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J R Soc Interface. 2010 Apr 6;7(45):595-601. doi: 10.1098/rsif.2009.0364. Epub 2009 Sep 23.

Bio-electrospraying the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans: studying whole-genome transcriptional responses and key life cycle parameters.

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  • 1BioPhysics Group, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University College London, London, UK.


Bio-electrospray, the direct jet-based cell handling approach, is able to handle a wide range of cells (spanning immortalized, primary to stem cells). Studies at the genomic, genetic and the physiological levels have shown that, post-treatment, cellular integrity is unperturbed and a high percentage (more than 70%, compared with control) of cells remain viable. Although, these results are impressive, it may be argued that cell-based systems are oversimplistic. Therefore, it is important to evaluate the bio-electrospray technology using sensitive and dynamically developing multi-cellular organisms that share, at least some, similarities with multi-cell microenvironments encountered with tissues and organs. This study addressed this issue by using a well-characterized model organism, the non-parasitic nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. Nematode cultures were subjected to bio-electrospraying and compared with positive (heat shock) and negative controls (appropriate laboratory culture controls). Overall, bio-electrospraying did not modulate the reproductive output or induce significant changes in in vivo stress-responsive biomarkers (heat shock proteins). Likewise, whole-genome transcriptomics could not identify any biological processes, cellular components or molecular functions (gene ontology terms) that were significantly enriched in response to bio-electrospraying. This demonstrates that bio-electrosprays can be safely applied directly to nematodes and underlines its potential future use in the creation of multi-cellular environments within clinical applications.

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