Journal article

Microfluidics/CMOS orthogonal capabilities for cell bilogy

The study of individual cells and cellular networks can greatly benefit from the capabilities of microfabricated devices for the stimulation and the recording of electrical cellular events. In this contribution, we describe the development of a device, which combines capabilities for both electrical and pharmacological cell stimulation, and the subsequent recording of electrical cellular activity. The device combines the unique advantages of integrated circuitry (CMOS technology) for signal processing and microfluidics for drug delivery. Both techniques are ideally suited to study electrogenic mammalian cells, because feature sizes are of the same order as the cell diameter, ∼ 50 μm. Despite these attractive features, we observe a size mismatch between microfluidic devices, with bulky fluidic connections to the outside world, and highly miniaturized CMOS chips. To overcome this problem, we developed a microfluidic flow cell that accommodates a small CMOS chip. We simulated the performances of a flow cell based on a 3-D microfluidic system, and then fabricated the device to experimentally verify the nutrient delivery and localized drug delivery performance. The flow-cell has a constant nutrient flow, and six drug inlets that can individually deliver a drug to the cells. The experimental analysis of the nutrient and drug flow mass transfer properties in the flowcell are in good agreement with our simulations. For an experimental proof-of-principle, we successfully delivered, in a spatially resolved manner, a 'drug' to a culture of HL-1 cardiac myocytes. © Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2006.


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