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Issue 16, 2013
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A microfluidic cell culture array with various oxygen tensions

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Oxygen tension plays an important role in regulating various cellular functions in both normal physiology and disease states. Therefore, drug testing using conventional in vitro cell models under normoxia often possesses limited prediction capability. A traditional method of setting an oxygen tension in a liquid medium is by saturating it with a gas mixture at the desired level of oxygen, which requires bulky gas cylinders, sophisticated control, and tedious interconnections. Moreover, only a single oxygen tension can be tested at the same time. In this paper, we develop a microfluidic cell culture array platform capable of performing cell culture and drug testing under various oxygen tensions simultaneously. The device is fabricated using an elastomeric material, polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) and the well-developed multi-layer soft lithography (MSL) technique. The prototype device has 4 × 4 wells, arranged in the same dimensions as a conventional 96-well plate, for cell culture. The oxygen tensions are controlled by spatially confined oxygen scavenging chemical reactions underneath the wells using microfluidics. The platform takes advantage of microfluidic phenomena while exhibiting the combinatorial diversities achieved by microarrays. Importantly, the platform is compatible with existing cell incubators and high-throughput instruments (liquid handling systems and plate readers) for cost-effective setup and straightforward operation. Utilizing the developed platform, we successfully perform drug testing using an anti-cancer drug, triapazamine (TPZ), on adenocarcinomic human alveolar basal epithelial cell line (A549) under three oxygen tensions ranging from 1.4% to normoxia. The developed platform is promising to provide a more meaningful in vitro cell model for various biomedical applications while maintaining desired high throughput capabilities.

Graphical abstract: A microfluidic cell culture array with various oxygen tensions

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Supplementary files

Article information

26 Mar 2013
21 May 2013
First published
23 May 2013

Lab Chip, 2013,13, 3239-3245
Article type

A microfluidic cell culture array with various oxygen tensions

C. Peng, W. Liao, Y. Chen, C. Wu and Y. Tung, Lab Chip, 2013, 13, 3239
DOI: 10.1039/C3LC50388G

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