, Volume 11, Issue 6, pp 1297-1307

A microfluidic device for separation of amniotic fluid mesenchymal stem cells utilizing louver-array structures

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Abstract

Human mesenchymal stem cells can differentiate into multiple lineages for cell therapy and, therefore, have attracted considerable research interest recently. This study presents a new microfluidic device for bead and cell separation utilizing a combination of T-junction focusing and tilted louver-like structures. For the first time, a microfluidic device is used for continuous separation of amniotic stem cells from amniotic fluids. An experimental separation efficiency as high as 82.8% for amniotic fluid mesenchymal stem cells is achieved. Furthermore, a two-step separation process is performed to improve the separation efficiency to 97.1%. These results are based on characterization experiments that show that this microfluidic chip is capable of separating beads with diameters of 5, 10, 20, and 40 μm by adjusting the volume-flow-rate ratio between the flows in the main and side channels of the T-junction focusing structure. An optimal volume-flow-rate ratio of 0.5 can lead to high separation efficiencies of 87.8% and 85.7% for 5-μm and 10-μm beads, respectively, in a one-step separation process. The development of this microfluidic chip may be promising for future research into stem cells and for cell therapy.