Dielectrophoretic characterization of cells in a stationary nanoliter droplet array with generated chemical gradients


A novel design of reusable microfluidic platform that generates a stationary nanoliter droplet array (SNDA) for cell incubation and analysis, equipped with a complementary array of individually addressable electrodes for each microwell is studied. Various solute concentration gradients were generated between the wells where dielectrophoresis (DEP) was used to characterize the effect of the gradients on the cell’s response. The feasibility of generating concentration gradients and observation of DEP responses was demonstrated using a gradient of salts in combination with microparticles and viable cells. L1210 Lymphoma cells were used as the model cells in these experiments. Lymphoma cells' cross-over frequency (COF) decreased with increasing stress conditions. Specifically, a linear decrease in the cell COF was measured as a function of solution tonicity and blebbistatin dose. Lymphoma cells were incubated under a gradient of the chemotherapeutic agent doxorubicin (DOX), which led to saturation in the cell-COF response at 30 nM DOX, demonstrating the potential of the platform in screening of label-free drugs.

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The research was supported by MOST—Tashtiyot Grant No. 880011. The fabrication of the chip was made possible through the financial and technical support of the Technion RBNI (Russell Berrie Nanotechnology Institute) and MNFU (Micro Nano Fabrication Unit). We would like to thank Dr. Anna Scomparin and Prof. Ronit Satchi-Fainaro for the DOX sample and protocol.

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Correspondence to Gilad Yossifon.

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T. Ben-Arye and S. Park contributed equally to this work.

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Ben-Arye, T., Park, S., Shemesh, J. et al. Dielectrophoretic characterization of cells in a stationary nanoliter droplet array with generated chemical gradients. Biomed Microdevices 17, 91 (2015).

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  • Microfluidics
  • Cell analysis
  • Dielectrophoresis