Polar stimulation and constrained cell migration in microfluidic channels
Asymmetrical delivery of stimuli to moving cells for perturbing spatially-heterogeneous intracellular signaling is an experimental challenge not adequately met by existing technologies. Here, we report a robust microfluidic platform allowing localized treatment of the front and/or back of moving cells which crawl through narrow channels that they completely occlude. The enabling technical element for this study is a novel design for precise, passive balancing of flow inside the microfluidic device by contacting two fluid streams before splitting them again. The microchannels constrain cell morphology and induce qualitative and quantitative changes in neutrophil chemotaxis that mimic cells crawling through tissues.