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Biotechnol J. 2011 Feb;6(2):156-64. doi: 10.1002/biot.201000394.

Deep wells integrated with microfluidic valves for stable docking and storage of cells.

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1
Center for Biomedical Engineering, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Cambridge, MA, USA.

Abstract

In this paper, we describe a microfluidic mechanism that combines microfluidic valves and deep wells for cell localization and storage. Cells are first introduced into the device via externally controlled flow. Activating on-chip valves was used to interrupt the flow and to sediment the cells floating above the wells. Thus, valves could be used to localize the cells in the desired locations. We quantified the effect of valves in the cell storage process by comparing the total number of cells stored with and without valve activation. We hypothesized that in deep wells external flows generate low shear stress regions that enable stable, long-term docking of cells. To assess this hypothesis we conducted numerical calculations to understand the influence of well depth on the forces acting on cells. We verified those predictions experimentally by comparing the fraction of stored cells as a function of the well depth and input flow rate upon activation of the valves. As expected, upon reintroduction of the flow the cells in the deep wells were not moved whereas those in shallow wells were washed away. Taken together, our paper demonstrates that deep wells and valves can be combined to enable a broad range of cell studies.

PMID:
21298801
PMCID:
PMC3053253
DOI:
10.1002/biot.201000394
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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