From Bioseparation to "Artificial Micro Organs" - microfluidic chip based particle manipulation techniques
Stelzle M (2010)
Microfluidics, BioMEMS, and Medical Microsystems VIII. 2010 Feb; 7593: 75930G.
Microfluidic device technology provides unique physical phenomena which are not available in the macroscopic world. These may be exploited towards a diverse array of applications in biotechnology and biomedicine ranging from bioseparation of particulate samples to the assembly of cells into structures that resemble the smallest functional unit of an organ. In this paper a general overview of chip-based particle manipulation and separation is given. In the state of the art electric, magnetic, optical and gravitational field effects are utilized. Also, mechanical obstacles often in combination with force fields and laminar flow are employed to achieve separation of particles or molecules. In addition, three applications based on dielectrophoretic forces for particle manipulation in microfluidic systems are discussed in more detail. Firstly, a virus assay is demonstrated. There, antibody-loaded microbeads are used to bind virus particles from a sample and subsequently are accumulated to form a pico-liter sized aggregate located at a predefined position in the chip thus enabling highly sensitive fluorescence detection. Secondly, subcellular fractionation of mitochondria from cell homogenate yields pure samples as was demonstrated by Western Blot and 2D PAGE analysis. Robust long-term operation with complex cell homogenate samples while avoiding electrode fouling is achieved by a set of dedicated technical means. Finally, a chip intended for the dielectrophoretic assembly of hepatocytes and endothelial cells into a structure resembling a liver sinusoid is presented. Such "artificial micro organs" are envisioned as substance screening test systems providing significantly higher predictability with respect to the in vivo response towards a substance under test.
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