, 56:197 | Cite as

Characterization of microfluidic human epidermal keratinocyte culture

  • Adrian T. O’Neill
  • Nancy A. Monteiro-Riviere
  • Glenn M. WalkerEmail author
Original Research


Human epidermal keratinocytes (HEK) are skin cells of primary importance in maintaining the body’s defensive barrier and are used in vitro to assess the irritation potential and toxicity of chemical compounds. Microfluidic systems hold promise for high throughput irritant and toxicity assays, but HEK growth kinetics have yet to be characterized within microscale culture chambers. This research demonstrates HEK patterning on microscale patches of Type I collagen within microfluidic channels and maintenance of these cells under constant medium perfusion for 72 h. HEK were shown to maintain 93.0%–99.6% viability at 72 h under medium perfusion ranging from 0.025–0.4 μl min−1. HEK maintained this viability while ∼100% confluent—a level not possible in 96 well plates. Microscale HEK cultures offer the ability to precisely examine the morphology, behavior and viability of individual cells which may open the door to new discoveries in toxicological screening methods and wound healing techniques.


Cytotoxicity High-throughput Keratinocyte Microfluidic PDMS Toxicology 



This work was supported in part by the Johns Hopkins Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing and a Society of Toxicology Colgate Palmolive Research Award.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Adrian T. O’Neill
    • 1
    • 2
  • Nancy A. Monteiro-Riviere
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Glenn M. Walker
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Joint Department of Biomedical EngineeringThe University of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel HillUSA
  2. 2.Joint Department of Biomedical EngineeringNorth Carolina State UniversityRaleighUSA
  3. 3.Center for Chemical Toxicology Research and PharmacokineticsNorth Carolina State UniversityRaleighUSA

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