Monolithically integrated biophotonic lab-on-a-chip for cell culture and simultaneous pH monitoring†
A poly(dimethylsiloxane) biophotonic lab-on-a-chip (bioPhLoC) containing two chambers, an incubation chamber and a monitoring chamber for cell retention/proliferation and pH monitoring, respectively, is presented. The bioPhLoC monolithically integrates a filter with 3 μm high size-exclusion microchannels, capable of efficiently trapping cells in the incubation chamber, as well as optical elements for real-time interrogation of both chambers. The integrated optical elements made possible both absorption and dispersion measurements, which were comparable to those made in a commercially available cuvette. The size-exclusion filter also showed good and stable trapping capacity when using yeast cells of variable size (between 5 and 8 μm diameter). For cell culture applications, vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMC), with sizes between 8 and 10 μm diameter, were used as a mammalian cell model. These cells were efficiently trapped in the incubation chamber, where they proliferated with a classical spindle-shaped morphology and a traditional hill-and-valley phenotype. During cell proliferation, pH changes in the culture medium due to cell metabolism were monitored in real time and with high precision in the monitoring chamber without interference of the measurement by cells and other (cell) debris.