Advanced Microfluidic Device Designed for Cyclic Compression of Single Adherent Cells.

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Advanced Microfluidic Device Designed for Cyclic Compression of Single Adherent Cells.

Front Bioeng Biotechnol. 2018;6:148

Authors: Ho KKY, Wang YL, Wu J, Liu AP

Cells in our body experience different types of stress including compression, tension, and shear. It has been shown that some cells experience permanent plastic deformation after a mechanical tensile load was removed. However, it was unclear whether cells are plastically deformed after repetitive compressive loading and unloading. There have been few tools available to exert cyclic compression at the single cell level. To address technical challenges found in a previous microfluidic compression device, we developed a new single-cell microfluidic compression device that combines an elastomeric membrane block geometry to ensure a flat contact surface and microcontact printing to confine cell spreading within cell trapping chambers. The design of the block geometry inside the compression chamber was optimized by using computational simulations. Additionally, we have implemented step-wise pneumatically controlled cell trapping to allow more compression chambers to be incorporated while minimizing mechanical perturbation on trapped cells. Using breast epithelial MCF10A cells stably expressing a fluorescent actin marker, we successfully demonstrated the new device design by separately trapping single cells in different chambers, confining cell spreading on microcontact printed islands, and applying cyclic planar compression onto single cells. We found that there is no permanent deformation after a 0.5 Hz cyclic compressive load for 6 min was removed. Overall, the development of the single-cell compression microfluidic device opens up new opportunities in mechanobiology and cell mechanics studies.

PMID: 30386779 [PubMed]

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