This work introduces a contact line pinning based microfluidic platform for the generation of interstitial and intramural flows within a three dimensional (3D) microenvironment for cellular behaviour studies. A contact line pinning method was used to confine a natively derived biomatrix, collagen, in microfluidic channels without walls. By patterning collagen in designated wall-less channels, we demonstrated and validated the intramural flows through a microfluidic channel bounded by a monolayer of endothelial cells (mimic of a vascular vessel), as well as slow interstitial flows within a cell laden collagen matrix using the same microfluidic platform. The contact line pinning method ensured the generation of an engineered endothelial tube with straight walls, and spatially uniform interstitial fluid flows through the cell embedded 3D collagen matrix. Using this device, we demonstrated that the breast tumour cells' (MDA-MB-231 cell line) morphology and motility were modulated by the interstitial flows, and the motility of a sub-population of the cells was enhanced by the presence of the flow. The presented microfluidic platform provides a basic framework for studies of cellular behaviour including cell transmigration, growth, and adhesion under well controlled interstitial and intramural flows, and within a physiologically realistic 3D co-culture setting.
Tung, Chih-kuan, Oleh Krupa, Elif Apaydin, Jr-Jiun Liou, Anthony Diaz-Santana, Beum Jun Kim, Mingming Wu