In this paper, we report the development and demonstration of a method to fabricate an all-glass microfluidic cell culturing device without circulation flow. On-chip microfluidic cell culturing is an indispensable technique for cellular replacement therapies and experimental cell biology. Polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) have become a popular material for fabricating microfluidic cell culture devices because it is a transparent, biocompatible, deformable, easy-to-mold, and gas-permeable. However, PDMS is also a chemically and physically unstable material. For example, PDMS undergoes aging easily even in room temperature conditions. Therefore, it is difficult to control long term experimental culturing conditions. On the other hand, glass is expected to be stable not only in physically but also chemically even in the presence of organic solvents. However, cell culturing still requires substance exchanges such as gases and nutrients, and so on, which cannot be done in a closed space of a glass device without circulation flow that may influence cell behavior. Thus, we introduce a filter structure with micropores onto a glass device to improve permeability to the cell culture space. Normally, it is extremely difficult to fabricate a filter structure on a normal glass plate by using a conventional fabrication method. Here, we demonstrated a method for fabricating an all-glass microfluidic cell culturing device having filters structure. The function of this all-glass culturing device was confirmed by culturing HeLa, fibroblast and ES cells. Compared with the closed glass devices without a filter structure, the numbers of cells in our device increased and embryonic bodies (EBs) were formed. This method offers a new tool in microfluidic cell culture technology for biological analysis and it expands the field of microfluidic cell culture.
Laser fabrication Glass filter Embryonic body ES cell
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This research was funded by the ImPACT Program of the Council for Science, Technology, and Innovation (Cabinet Office, Government of Japan). The authors also thank Dr. H. R. Ueda, H. Ukai, S. Funano and N. Ota, RIKEN, Japan for providing materials and useful discussion.