Uniformity of spheroids-on-a-chip by surface treatment of PDMS microfluidic platforms
Spheroids have emerged as a reliable model in preclinical oncology research. Uniformity of spheroids is the key parameter in the reproducibility and precision of drug test results. Microfluidic-based biochips have many advantages over other spheroid formation methods, including better control over the size of spheroids. Decreasing the cell adhesion to the surface is one of the most important challenges in microfluidic platforms, which could be controlled by appropriate surface engineering methods. We have studied the effect of surface modification of PMDS microfluidic biochips with two commonly used anti-fouling coating materials, BSA and Pluronic F-68, on the uniformity of spheroids produced on-chip. The optimized PDMS surfaces effectively inhibited cell adhesion into the surfaces and promoted cell self-aggregation to produce homogenous and uniform spheroids on-chip. This work highlights the importance of surface modification on the quality and quantity of spheroid formation on microfluidic-based biochips.