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Mathematical analysis of oxygen transfer through polydimethylsiloxane membrane between double layers of cell culture channel and gas chamber in microfluidic oxygenator

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Abstract

For successful cell culture in microfluidic devices, precise control of the microenvironment, including gas transfer between the cells and the surrounding medium, is exceptionally important. The work is motivated by a polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) microfluidic oxygenator chip for mammalian cell culture suggesting that the speed of the oxygen transfer may vary depending on the thickness of a PDMS membrane or the height of a fluid channel. In this paper, a model is presented to describe the oxygen transfer dynamics in the PDMS microfluidic oxygenator chip for mammalian cell culture. Theoretical studies were carried out to evaluate the oxygen profile within the multilayer device, consisting of a gas reservoir, a PDMS membrane, a fluid channel containing growth media, and a cell culture layer. The corresponding semi-analytical solution was derived to evaluate dissolved oxygen concentration within the heterogeneous materials, and was found to be in good agreement with the numerical solution. In addition, a separate analytical solution was obtained to investigate the oxygen pressure drop (OPD) along the cell layer due to oxygen uptake of cells, with experimental validation of the OPD model carried out using human umbilical vein endothelial cells cultured in a PDMS microfluidic oxygenator. Within the theoretical framework, the effects of several microfluidic oxygenator design parameters were studied, including cell type and critical device dimensions.

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Acknowledgments

The authors thank the Singapore-MIT Alliance of Research and Technology for financial supports of this work. The authors would like to acknowledge the financial supports from Croucher Foundation, Early Career Scheme of Hong Kong Research Grant Council (Project# RGC124212), and the National Science Foundation under Grant No. EFRI-0735997 and Grant No. STC-0902396. The authors thank Sukhyun Song for his assistance on the HUVEC culture experiment.

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Correspondence to Min-Cheol Kim or Todd Thorsen.

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Min-Cheol Kim and Raymond H. W. Lam are equally contributed to this work.

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Kim, MC., Lam, R.H.W., Thorsen, T. et al. Mathematical analysis of oxygen transfer through polydimethylsiloxane membrane between double layers of cell culture channel and gas chamber in microfluidic oxygenator. Microfluid Nanofluid 15, 285–296 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10404-013-1142-8

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10404-013-1142-8

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