Microfluidic devices are rapidly becoming a more advantageous cell culture platform than macroscopic culture vessels (dishes, flasks and well-plates) for numerous applications. Two dimensional cell culture benefits from a vast pool of established resources: standard protocols, materials and methods of measuring pH, CO2, O2 and more. However, it has been observed that cells grown on flat platforms vary significantly from their biological counterparts in their morphology, phenotype and cell–cell/extracellular matrix (ECM) interactions. Findings derived from these culture platforms may differ significantly from real biological systems making some results inapplicable.
In contrast, microfluidic devices can be tailored to mimic physiological or pathological microenvironments by customizing the presence of growth factors, mechanical and chemical stimuli and much more to match the specific cell populations being cultured. In addition, these devices require fewer cells and reagents. As as result, microfluidic device are being used in many applications including tissue engineering, stem cell studies, drug screening and much more. In the following papers, you will find examples of microfluidic devices being used to culture advanced cell populations.
- Halldorsson S, Lucumi E, Gómez-sjöberg R, Fleming RMT. “Advantages and challenges of microfluidic cell culture in polydimethylsiloxane devices”, Biosens Bioelectron (2015) 63: 218-231.
- Han, S.; Kim, J.; Li, R.; Ma, A.; Kwan, V.; Luong, K. & Sohn, L. L. Hydrophobic “Patterning-Based 3D Microfluidic Cell Culture Assay”, Adv. Healthcare Mater. (2018) 7: 1800122.
- Occhetta P, Visone R, Rasponi M. “High-Throughput Microfluidic Platform for 3D Cultures of Mesenchymal Stem Cells”, Methods Mol Biol (2017) 1612: 303-323.
- Venugopal Menon, N.; Tay, H. M.; Pang, K. T.; Dalan, R.; Wong, S. C.; Wang, X.; Li, K. H. H. & Hou, H. W. “A tunable microfluidic 3D stenosis model to study leukocyte-endothelial interactions in atherosclerosis”, APL Bioengine. (2018) 2: 016103.