Digital microfluidic dynamic culture of mammalian embryos on an Electrowetting on Dielectric (EWOD) chip

Hong Yuan Huang, Hsien Hua Shen, Chang Hung Tien, Chin Jung Li, Shih Kang Fan, Cheng Hsien Liu, Wen-Syang Hsu, Da Jeng Yao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Current human fertilization in vitro (IVF) bypasses the female oviduct and manually inseminates, fertilizes and cultivates embryos in a static microdrop containing appropriate chemical compounds. A microfluidic microchannel system for IVF is considered to provide an improved in-vivo-mimicking environment to enhance the development in a culture system for an embryo before implantation. We demonstrate a novel digitalized microfluidic device powered with electrowetting on a dielectric (EWOD) to culture an embryo in vitro in a single droplet in a microfluidic environment to mimic the environment in vivo for development of the embryo and to culture the embryos with good development and live births. Our results show that the dynamic culture powered with EWOD can manipulate a single droplet containing one mouse embryo and culture to the blastocyst stage. The rate of embryo cleavage to a hatching blastocyst with a dynamic culture is significantly greater than that with a traditional static culture (p<0.05). The EWOD chip enhances the culture of mouse embryos in a dynamic environment. To test the reproductive outcome of the embryos collected from an EWOD chip as a culture system, we transferred embryos to pseudo-pregnant female mice and produced live births. These results demonstrate that an EWOD-based microfluidic device is capable of culturing mammalian embryos in a microfluidic biological manner, presaging future clinical application.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0124196
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 May 2015

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