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Novel Application of Microfluidic Channels in Studying Cell Migration and Reorientation in Response to Direct Current Electric Fields

[+] Author Affiliations
P. Grace Chao, Elsa Angelini, Zhongliang Tang, Winston Chang, J. Chloë Bulinski, Alan C. West, Clark T. Hung

Columbia University, New York, NY

Paper No. IMECE2002-33138, pp. 243-244; 2 pages
  • ASME 2002 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Advances in Bioengineering
  • New Orleans, Louisiana, USA, November 17–22, 2002
  • Conference Sponsors: Bioengineering Division
  • ISBN: 0-7918-3650-9 | eISBN: 0-7918-1691-5, 0-7918-1692-3, 0-7918-1693-1
  • Copyright © 2002 by ASME


Electric fields have been shown to induce cell migration (galvanotaxis) and cell shape changes (galvanotropism) in many cell types, such as neural crest cells, embryonic cells, and chondrocytes [1–3]. In this study, a novel microfluidic system was developed to study individual cellular responses to applied electric fields. These microfabricated channels are made from commercially available poly-dimethyl-siloxane (PDMS). This gas permeable, tough, and transparent polymer provides a sterile tissue culture environment and permits visualization of cells using epifluorescence microscopy. In conjunction with the device, a custom computer program was written to quantify the migratory behavior of cells by analyzing changes in position and cell shape. The flexibility of the channel geometry allows for a wider range of chamber resistance and applied currents (achieving a particular field strength) that may permit further study into the underlying mechanisms of electric field directed cell migration and orientation.

Copyright © 2002 by ASME



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