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Electrophoresis. 2015 Sep;36(18):2196-2206. doi: 10.1002/elps.201500045. Epub 2015 Jun 26.

Analysis of metabolites in single cells-what is the best micro-platform?

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ETH Zurich - Chemie und Angewandte Biowissenschaften, Wolfgang-Pauli-Str. 10, Zurich, 8093, Switzerland.
ETH Zurich - Department of Chemistry and Applied Biosciences, Vladimir-Prelog-weg 3, Zurich, 8093, Switzerland.


This review covers new innovations and developments in the field of single-cell level analysis of metabolites, involving the role of microfluidic and microarray platforms to manipulate and handle the cells prior their detection. Microfluidic and microarray platforms have shown great promise. The latest developments demonstrate their potential to identify a particular cell or even an ensemble of cells (sharing a common property or phenotype) that co-exist in a much larger cell population. The reason for this is the capability of these platforms to perform several complex analytical processes, such as: cleanup, sorting, derivatization, separation, and detection, with great robustness, speed, and reduced sample/reagent consumption. Here, we present several examples that illustrate the rapid strides that have been made for the routine analysis of metabolites by coupling different microfluidics and microarrays devices to a wide range of analytical detectors (e.g. fluorescent microscopy, electrochemical, and mass spectrometry). Herein, we also present selected examples detailing the use of microfluidics and microarrays in the visualization of the natural occurring cell-to-cell heterogeneity in isogenic populations, in particular during the response to external cues. The possibility to accurate monitor the cell-to-cell heterogeneity based on different levels of key metabolites is of clinical relevance, since cell-to-cell heterogeneity can influence, for example, the outcome of a drug treatment.


Lab-on-a-chip/Metabolomics/Microarrays/Microfluidics/Single-cell analysis


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