A self-contained microfluidic cell culture system
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- Zhang, B., Kim, MC., Thorsen, T. et al. Biomed Microdevices (2009) 11: 1233. doi:10.1007/s10544-009-9342-4
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Conventional in vitro cell culture that utilizes culture dishes or microtiter plates is labor-intensive and time-consuming, and requires technical expertise and specific facilities to handle cell harvesting, media exchange and cell subculturing procedures. A microfluidic array platform with eight microsieves in each cell culture chamber is presented for continuous cell culture. With the help of the microsieves, uniform cell loading and distribution can be obtained. Within the arrays, cells grown to the point of confluency can be trypsinized and recovered from the device. Cells trapped in the microsieves after trypsinization function to seed the chambers for subsequent on-chip culturing, creating a sustainable platform for multiple cycles. The capability of the microfluidic array platform was demonstrated with a BALB/3T3 (murine embryonic fibroblast) cell line. The present microfluidic cell culture platform has potential to develop into a fully automated cell culture system integrated with temperature control, fluidic control, and micropumps, maximizing cell culture health with minimal intervention.