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Towards Three-Dimensional Dynamic Regulation and In Situ Characterization of Single Stem Cell Phenotype Using Microfluidics

Sart, Sébastien, Agathos, Spiros N.
Molecular biotechnology 2018 v.60 no.11 pp. 843-861
bioreactors, drugs, evolution, mesenchymal stromal cells, microfluidic technology, monitoring, phenotype, screening, stem cells, therapeutics, tissue engineering
Mesenchymal stem cells and pluripotent stem cells are recognized as promising tools for tissue engineering, cell therapy, and drug screening. Their use in therapy requires the production of a sufficient number of cells committed to functional regenerative phenotypes. Time- and magnitude-controlled application of mechanical and biochemical cues is required to appropriately control the evolution of stem cell phenotype in 3D. The temporal monitoring of the impact of these cues on the diverse fates of individual stem cells is also needed to ensure the reliability of the differentiation processes. However, macro-scale bioreactors are limited in regulating stem environment and display limited capability to monitor heterogeneities at the single cell level. In turn, microfluidics devices are emerging as powerful tools for tightly controlling culture parameters and precisely monitoring stem cell behavior. This work summarizes recent advances in the applications of microfluidics for the dynamic regulation and characterization of stem cells in 3D.