A cell culturing system that integrates the cell loading function on a single platform and evaluation of the pulsatile pumping effect on cells
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In this paper, we present a novel microfluidic system with pulsatile cell storing, cell-delivering and cell culturing functions on a single PDMS platform. For this purpose, we have integrated two reservoirs, a pulsatile pumping system containing two soft check valves, which were fabricated by in situ photopolymerization, six switch valves, and three cell culture chambers all developed through a simple and rapid fabrication process. The sample volume delivered per stroke was 120 nl and the transported volume was linearly related to the pumping frequency. We have investigated the effect of the pulsatile pneumatic micropumping on the cells during transport. For this purpose, we pumped two types of cell suspensions, one containing human breast adenocarcinoma cells (MCF-7) and the other mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) derived from bone marrow. The effect of pulsatile pumping on both cell types was examined by short and long-term culture experiments. Our results showed that the characteristics of both cells were maintained; they were not damaged by the pumping system. Evaluations were carried out by morphological inspection, viability assay and immunophenotyping analysis. The delivered MCF-7 cells and hMSCs spread and proliferated onto the gelatin coated cell culture chamber. This total micro cell culture system can be applied to cell-based high throughput screening and for co-culture of different cells with different volume.