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Anal Chem. 2010 Nov 1;82(21):8954-60. doi: 10.1021/ac101870s. Epub 2010 Oct 11.

Biocompatibility and reduced drug absorption of sol-gel-treated poly(dimethyl siloxane) for microfluidic cell culture applications.

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Engineering Division, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, California 94720, United States, Department of Bioengineering and Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305, United States, Department of Anesthesia and Perioperative Care, San Francisco General Hospital, San Francisco, California 94143, United States, and Department of Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology and Howard Hughes Medical Institute, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, California 94143, United States.


Poly(dimethyl siloxane) (PDMS)-based microfluidic devices are now commonly used for a wide variety of biological experiments, including cell culture assays. However, the porous, hydrophobic polymer matrix of PDMS rapidly absorbs small hydrophobic molecules, including hormones and most small-molecule drugs. This makes it challenging to perform experiments that require such substances in PDMS microfluidic devices. This study presents evidence that a sol-gel treatment of PDMS that fills the polymer matrix with silica nanoparticles is effective at reducing the absorption of drugs into the material while preserving its biocompatibility, transparency, and oxygen permeability. We show that the absorption of two anticancer drugs, camptothecin and a kinase inhibitor, is reduced to such an extent that on-chip microfluidic cell culture experiments can recapitulate the results obtained off-chip.

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