Microfluidic environment for high density hepatocyte culture
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- Zhang, M.Y., Lee, P.J., Hung, P.J. et al. Biomed Microdevices (2008) 10: 117. doi:10.1007/s10544-007-9116-9
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We present a microfluidic bioreactor for culturing high-density arrays of hepatocytes in a tissue-like micro-architecture. The microfluidic environment mimicked physiological liver mass transport, enabling sustained culture of high density cells (>2,000 cells/mm2) without nutrient limitation for over 1 week. The key feature of this design was a microporous microfluidic barrier that formed a sieved-pocket to concentrate cells during loading. Nutrient depletion within the cell mass was avoided by maintaining a continuous flow of medium (10 μl/day) that diffused across the porous barrier. Human hepatoma cells (HepG2/C3A) remained viable and functional as demonstrated by fluorescent viability assays and secretion of albumin for the one-week culture period.