The fabrication of mammalian cell-containing poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) hydrogel microstructures on glass and silicon substrates is described. Using photoreaction injection molding in poly(dimethylsiloxane) microfluidic channels, three-dimensional hydrogel microstructures encapsulating cells (fibroblasts, hepatocytes, macrophage) were fabricated with cells uniformly distributed to each hydrogel microstructure, and the number of cells in each hydrogel microstructure was controlled by changing the cell density of the precursor solution. PEG hydrogels were modified using an Arg-Gly-Asp (RGD) peptide sequence, with the incorporation of RGD into the hydrogel matrix promoting the spreading of encapsulated fibroblasts over a 24-h period in culture. Cells remained viable encapsulated in these hydrogel microstructures for a period in excess of 1 week in culture. Arrays of hydrogel microstructures encapsulating two or more phenotypes on a single substrate were successfully fabricated using multimicrofluidic channels, creating the potential for multiphenotype cell-based biosensors.
Koh, Won-Gun, Laura J. Itle, Michael V. Pishko