A microfluidic perfusion approach for on-chip characterization of the transport properties of human oocytes
Accurate characterization of the cell membrane transport properties of human oocytes is of great significance to reproductive pharmacology, fertility preservation, and assisted reproduction. However, the commonly used manual method for quantifying the transport properties is associated with uncontrolled operator-to-operator and run-to-run variability. Here, we report a novel sandwich structured microfluidic device that can be readily fabricated for characterizing oocyte membrane transport properties. Owing to its capacity for excellent control of both solution replacement and temperature in the microchannel, the temperature-dependent permeability of the oocyte membrane can be precisely characterized. Furthermore, the fertilization and developmental competence analysis post perfusion indicate that our approach does not compromise the physiological function of in vitro matured human oocytes. Collectively, we present the development of a novel sandwich structured microfluidic device based approach that allows on-chip characterization of the transport properties of human oocytes under innocuous osmotic shock or injury to the cells.