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Electrophoresis. 2019 Feb;40(3):419-424. doi: 10.1002/elps.201800119. Epub 2018 Jul 13.

Micropillar-based microfluidic device to regulate neurite networks of uniform-sized neurospheres.

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Department of Biomedical Engineering, Sogang University, Seoul, Republic of Korea.
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Sogang University, Seoul, Republic of Korea.
Research Center, Sogang University, Seoul, Republic of Korea.
Department of Anatomy, Brain Korea 21 Program, Korea University College of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea.


The inability of neurons to undergo mitosis renders damage to the central or peripheral nervous system. Neural stem cell therapy could provide a path for treating the neurodegenerative diseases. However, reliable and simple tools for the developing and testing neural stem cell therapy are still required. Here, we show the development of a micropillar-based microfluidic device to trap the uniform-sized neurospheres. The neurospheres trapped within micropillar arrays were largely differentiated into neuronal cells, and their neurite networks were observed in the microfluidic device. Compared to conventional cultures on glass slides, the neurite networks generated with this method have a higher reproducibility. Furthermore, we demonstrated the effect of thapsigargin on the neurite networks in the microfluidic device, demonstrating that neural networks exposed to thapsigargin were largely diminished and disconnected from each other. Therefore, this micropillar-based microfluidic device could be a potential tool for screening of neurotoxins.


Microfluidics; Micropillar array; Neurite network; Neurosphere; Thapsigargin


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