Hypoxia on a chip - a novel approach for patch-clamp studies in a microfluidic system with full oxygen control
A new approach to perform patch-clamp experiments on living cells under controlled anoxic and normoxic conditions was developed and tested. To provide an optimal control over the oxygen content and the biochemical environment a patch-clamp recording micropipette was integrated within an oxygen tight poly-methyl methacrylate (PMMA) based microchip. The oxygen content within the microfluidic chamber surrounding patch-clamp micropipette was maintained at 0.5-1.5 % by a continuous flow of artificial extracellular solution purged with nitrogen. The nerve and glial cells acutely obtained from the male rat brain were trapped by the optical tweezers and steered towards the patch-clamp micropipette through the channels of the microchip in order to achieve a close contact between the pipette and the cellular membrane. The patch-clamp recordings revealed that optical tweezers did not affect the electrophysiological properties of the tested cells suggesting that optical trapping is a safe and non-traumatizing method to manipulate living cells in the microfluidic system. Thus, our approach of combining optical tweezers and a gas-tight microfluidic chamber may be applied in various electrophysiological investigations of single cells were optimal control of the experimental conditions and the sample in a closed environment are necessary.
KeywordsPatch-clamp nerve cell optical tweezers lab-on-a-chip
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