A novel microfluidic platform with stable concentration gradient for on chip cell culture and screening assays
In this work a novel microfluidic platform for cell culture and assay is developed. On the chip a static cell culture region is coupled with dynamic fluidic nutrition supply structures. The cell culture unit has a sandwich structure with liquid channels on the top, the cell culture reservoir in the middle and gas channels on the bottom. Samples can be easily loaded into the reservoir and exchange constantly with the external liquid environment by diffusion. Since the flow direction is perpendicular to the liquid channel on the top of the reservoir, the cells in the reservoir are shielded from shear-force. By assembling the basic units into an array, a steady concentration gradient can be generated. Cell culture models both for continuous perfusion and one-off perfusion were established on the chip. Both adherent and suspended cells were successfully cultured on the chip in 2D and 3D culture modes. After culturing, the trapped cells were recovered for use in a later assay. As a competitive candidate for a standard cell culture and assay platform, this chip is also adaptable for cytotoxicity and cell growth assays.