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J Neurosci. 2016 Nov 16;36(46):11573-11584.

Compartmentalized Microfluidic Platforms: The Unrivaled Breakthrough of In Vitro Tools for Neurobiological Research.

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Instituto de Investigação e Inovação em Saúde, Universidade do Porto, 4200-135 Porto, Portugal.
Instituto de Engenharia Biomédica, Universidade do Porto, 4200-135 Porto, Portugal.
Faculdade de Medicina da Universidade do Porto, 4200-319 Porto, Portugal, and.
Instituto de Ciências Biomédicas Abel Salazar, Universidade do Porto, 4050-313 Porto, Portugal.
Instituto de Investigação e Inovação em Saúde, Universidade do Porto, 4200-135 Porto, Portugal,


Microfluidic technology has become a valuable tool to the scientific community, allowing researchers to study fine cellular mechanisms with higher variable control compared with conventional systems. It has evolved tremendously, and its applicability and flexibility made its usage grow exponentially and transversely to several research fields. This has been particularly noticeable in neuroscience research, where microfluidic platforms made it possible to address specific questions extending from axonal guidance, synapse formation, or axonal transport to the development of 3D models of the CNS to allow pharmacological testing and drug screening. Furthermore, the continuous upgrade of microfluidic platforms has allowed a deeper study of the communication occurring between different neuronal and glial cells or between neurons and other peripheral tissues, both in physiological and pathological conditions. Importantly, the evolution of microfluidic technology has always been accompanied by the development of new computational tools addressing data acquisition, analysis, and modeling.

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