A flexible cell concentrator using inertial focusing
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Cell concentration adjustment is intensively implemented routinely both in research and clinical laboratories. Centrifuge is the most prevalent technique for tuning biosample concentration. But it suffers from a number of drawbacks, such as requirement of experienced operator, high cost, low resolution, variable reproducibility and induced damage to sample. Herein we report on a cost-efficient alternative using inertial microfluidics. While the majority of existing literatures concentrate on inertial focusing itself, we identify the substantial role of the outlet system played in the device performance that has long been underestimated. The resistances of the outlets virtually involve in defining the cutoff size of a given inertial filtration channel. Following the comprehensive exploration of the influence of outlet system, we designed an inertial device with selectable outlets. Using both commercial microparticles and cultured Hep G2 cells, we have successfully demonstrated the automated concentration modification and observed several key advantages of our device as compared with conventional centrifuge, such as significantly reduced cell loss (only 4.2% vs. ~40% of centrifuge), better preservation of cell viability and less processing time as well as the increased reproducibility due to absence of manual operation. Furthermore, our device shows high effectiveness for concentrated sample (e.g., 1.8 × 106 cells/ml) as well. We envision its promising applications in the circumstance where repetitive sample preparation is intensely employed.
KeywordsAutomated cell concentration Inertial focusing channel resistances Microfluidic concentrator Lab on a chip Centrifuge Hep G2 cells
We gratefully acknowledge partial support by the National Science Foundation of China (under grant no. 81501614, no. 81171416 and 61501400) and a grant by the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities with grant no. 2014QNA5015. We also acknowledge partial support from Health and Family Planning Commission of Zhejiang Province (no. 2014RCA010).