We generated an aqueous two-phase laminar flow in a microfluidic chip and used the system to isolate leukocyte and erythrocyte cells from whole blood cells. The microfluidic system reduced the effect of gravity in the aqueous two-phase system (ATPS). Poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) and dextran (Dex) solutions were used as the two phases, and the independent flow rates of the solutions were both 2 µL/min. When hydrophobic and hydrophilic polystyrene beads were introduced into the microfluidic device, the hydrophilic beads moved to the Dex layer and the hydrophobic beads to the interface between the two phases. In the case of living cells, Jurkat cells and erythrocytes moved more efficiently to the PEG and Dex layers, respectively, than they move in a conventional ATPS. When whole blood cells were inserted into the microfluidic chip, leukocytes could be separated from erythrocytes because erythrocytes moved to the Dex layer while leukocytes remained outside of this layer in the microfluidic system. The reported microfluidic chip for the whole blood cell separation can effectively be integrated into a Micro Total Analysis System designed for cell-based clinical, forensic, and environmental analyses.
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