Biomedical Microdevices

, Volume 15, Issue 1, pp 97–108 | Cite as

Culture of primary rat hippocampal neurons: design, analysis, and optimization of a microfluidic device for cell seeding, coherent growth, and solute delivery

  • Alexander C. Barbati
  • Cheng Fang
  • Gary A. Banker
  • Brian J. Kirby


We present the design, analysis, construction, and culture results of a microfluidic device for the segregation and chemical stimulation of primary rat hippocampal neurons. Our device is designed to achieve spatio-temporal solute delivery to discrete sections of neurons with mitigated mechanical stress. We implement a geometric guidance technique to direct axonal processes of the neurons into specific areas of the device to achieve solute segregation along routed cells. Using physicochemical modeling, we predict flows, concentration profiles, and mechanical stresses within pertiment sections of the device. We demonstrate cell viability and growth within the closed device over a period of 11 days. Additionally, our modeling methodology may be generalized and applied to other device geometries.


Drug delivery Microfluidic Cell culture  Axonal transport Axonal damage Neuron Neurodegenerative disease PDMS Huntington’s disease 



The authors thank Barbara Smoody for her expert technical assistance, and acknowledge funding from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society (MS Center Grant CA 1055-A-3); CF is supported by a postdoctoral fellowship from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. ACB is supported by a Graduate Research Fellowship from the National Science Foundation. This work is based upon work supported by the STC Program of the National Science Foundation under Agreement No. ECS-9876771, and was performed in part at the Cornell NanoScale Facility, which is supported by the National Science Foundation (Grant ECS-0335765).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alexander C. Barbati
    • 1
  • Cheng Fang
    • 2
  • Gary A. Banker
    • 2
  • Brian J. Kirby
    • 1
  1. 1.Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace EngineeringCornell UniversityIthacaUSA
  2. 2.Jungers Center for Neurosciences ResearchOregon Health and Sciences UniversityPortlandUSA

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