System Grows Cells In 3-D | Chemical & Engineering News
Volume 86 Issue 16 | p. 43 | Concentrates
Issue Date: April 21, 2008

System Grows Cells In 3-D

Department: Science & Technology
Credit: Anal. Chem.
Credit: Anal. Chem.

For mimicking the physiological context of cells, three-dimensional laboratory microenvironments are often better than flat ones. Samuel K. Sia and coworkers at Columbia University describe a microfluidic system that lets them work with cells growing in an extracellular matrix (ECM) by studying them in a 3-D microenvironment in real time (Anal. Chem., DOI: 10.1021/ac8000034). The researchers used a polymeric device with a 4 X 4 array of chambers (one shown), each of which are individually addressable with pneumatically actuated valves, similar to those pioneered by Stephen Quake and colleagues at Stanford University. The Columbia team needed a chip that allowed effective perfusion of medium and reagents without displacing the ECM. To achieve this goal, they incorporated features into the chip such as microposts to hold the ECM in place and shallow conduits above each chamber to allow rapid perfusion. They used the device to maintain mouse embryonic stem cells, which are highly sensitive to their 3-D environment, in an undifferentiated state for five days.

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