The objective of this study was to explore the feasibility of microfluidic devices and methods for chemical stimulation of cells with the ultimate goal of achieving cell selective stimulation as is not available by common electrostimulation methods. Cells were cultivated on nanoporous membranes
with various pore sizes. An inkjet printhead was used to apply approximately 20 pl droplets of the chemical stimulant, namely calcein AM and acetylcholine, to the bottom face of these membranes.
Ca2+ imaging was employed to visualize cellular response upon acetylcholine stimulation by fluorescence microscopy. Application of calcein AM results in a continuous uptake by cells depending on local concentration. Modelling of transport phenomena taking into account contributions from diffusion, flow and evaporation revealed a pronounced influence of pore size on stimulation kinetics.