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Issue 2, 2009
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384-Channel parallel microfluidic cytometer for rare-cell screening

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We have constructed a 384-channel parallel microfluidic cytometer (PMC). The multichannel architecture allows 384 unique samples for a cell-based screen to be read out in approximately 6–10 min, about 30-times the speed of a conventional fluorescence-activated cytometer system (FACS). This architecture also allows the signal integration time to be varied over a larger range than is practical in single-channel FACS and is suitable for detection of rare-cells in a high background of negatives. The signal-to-noise advantages have been confirmed by using the system to count rare clonal osteocytes in the most difficult early stages of an expression-cloning screen for the carboxy-terminal parathyroid hormone receptor (CPTHR). This problem requires finding several dozen positive cells in a background of one million negatives. The system is automated around a scanning laser confocal detector and a 96-tip robotic pipettor and can maintain in vitro cultures on-system in 384-well plates. It is therefore directly practical for biology applications using existing high-throughput culture facilities. The PMC system lends itself to high-sample-number cytometry with an unusual capability for time synchronization and rare-cell sensitivity. A limited ability to handle large sample numbers has restricted applications of single-channel FACS in combinatorial cell assays; therefore the PMC could have a significant application in high-throughput screening.

Graphical abstract: 384-Channel parallel microfluidic cytometer for rare-cell screening

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Publication details

The article was received on 14 Jul 2008, accepted on 02 Oct 2008 and first published on 30 Oct 2008

Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/B811889B
Citation: Lab Chip, 2009,9, 305-310
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    384-Channel parallel microfluidic cytometer for rare-cell screening

    B. K. Mckenna, A. A. Selim, F. Richard Bringhurst and D. J. Ehrlich, Lab Chip, 2009, 9, 305
    DOI: 10.1039/B811889B

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