A microfluidic chip with a U-shaped microstructure array for multicellular spheroid formation, culturing and analysis

Chien Yu Fu, Sheng Yang Tseng, Shih Mo Yang, Long Hsu, Cheng Hsien Liu, Hwan You Chang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

47 Scopus citations

Abstract

Multicellular spheroids (MCS), formed by self-assembly of single cells, are commonly used as a three-dimensional cell culture model to bridge the gap between in vitro monolayer culture and in vivo tissues. However, current methods for MCS generation and analysis still suffer drawbacks such as being labor-intensive and of poor controllability, and are not suitable for high-throughput applications. This study demonstrates a novel microfluidic chip to facilitate MCS formation, culturing and analysis. The chip contains an array of U-shaped microstructures fabricated by photopolymerizing the poly(ethylene glycol) diacrylate hydrogel through defining the ultraviolet light exposure pattern with a photomask. The geometry of the U-shaped microstructures allowed trapping cells into the pocket through the actions of fluid flow and the force of gravity. The hydrogel is non-adherent for cells, promoting the formation of MCS. Its permselective property also facilitates exchange of nutrients and waste for MCS, while providing protection of MCS from shearing stress during the medium perfusion. Heterotypic MCS can be formed easily by manipulating the cell trapping steps. Subsequent drug susceptibility analysis and long-term culture could also be achieved within the same chip. This MCS formation and culture platform can be used as a micro-scale bioreactor and applied in many cell biology and drug testing studies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number015009
JournalBiofabrication
Volume6
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2014

Keywords

  • drug screening
  • micro-scale bioreactor
  • microfluidic systems
  • multicellular spheroids
  • photoresponsive hydrogel

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