Modular microsystem for epithelial cell culture and electrical characterisation
We have realised a microsystem for the culture and electrical characterisation of epithelial cell layers for cell-based diagnostic applications. The main goal of this work is to achieve both cell culture and impedimetric and potentiometric characterisation on a single device. The miniaturised cell culture system enables the uses of scarce epithelial cells, as obtained from transgenic mice or from human biopsies. The device is completely modular and offers high flexibility: a polycarbonate membrane used as cell substrate is glued in between two moulded Polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) layers to form a sandwich, which is placed between two stacks, containing the microfluidic channels and integrated measurement electrodes. The polycarbonate membrane sandwich can be removed, replaced or analysed at any time. We have characterised the impedimetric properties of our microsystem, demonstrated epithelial cell layer growth within it, and have done the initial electrical characterisation of epithelial cell layers.