Open-access and multi-directional electroosmotic flow chip for positioning heterotypic cells†
We propose a novel method of cell positioning using electroosmotic flow (EOF) to analyze cell–cell interactions. The EOF chip has an open-to-air configuration, is equipped with four electrodes to induce multi-directional EOF, and allows access of tools for liquid handling and of physical probes for cell measurements. Evaluation of the flow within this chip indicated that it controlled hydrodynamic transport of cells, in terms of both speed and direction. We also evaluated cell viability after EOF application and determined appropriate conditions for cell positioning. Two cells were successively positioned in pocket-like microstructures, one in each micropocket, by controlling the EOF direction. As an experimental demonstration, we observed contact interactions between two individual cells through gap junction channels. The EOF chip should provide ways to elucidate various cell–cell interactions between heterotypic cells.