Microfluidic hydrogel layers with multiple gradients to stimulate and perfuse three-dimensional neuronal cell cultures
We present a simple and easy to handle PDMS microfluidic device for neuronal cell culture studies in three-dimensional hydrogel scaffolds. The hydrogel is structured in parallel layers to reconstruct cell layers close to the natural environment. Dissociated cortical neurons of embryonic rats have been cultured in 0.5% w/v agarose including 0.2% w/v alginate. The cells formed neurite networks through neighboring cell free hydrogel layers. The cell culture showed neurite outgrowth in the microfluidic channel over more than seven days in vitro without perfusion. Culturing neurons in hydrogel layers surrounded by a liquid phase containing culture medium resulted in denser neuronal networks.