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A valve‐based microfluidic device for on‐chip single cell treatments

Sun, Yue, Cai, Bo, Wei, Xiaoyun, Wang, Zixiang, Rao, Lang, Meng, Qian‐Fang, Liao, Qingquan, Liu, Wei, Guo, Shishang, Zhao, Xingzhong
Electrophoresis 2019 v.40 no.6 pp. 961-968
bioassays, biomedical research, calcium, droplets, electrophoresis, hydrogels, sodium alginate, staining
Assays toward single‐cell analysis have attracted the attention in biological and biomedical researches to reveal cellular mechanisms as well as heterogeneity. Yet nowadays microfluidic devices for single‐cell analysis have several drawbacks: some would cause cell damage due to the hydraulic forces directly acting on cells, while others could not implement biological assays since they could not immobilize cells while manipulating the reagents at the same time. In this work, we presented a two‐layer pneumatic valve‐based platform to implement cell immobilization and treatment on‐chip simultaneously, and cells after treatment could be collected non‐destructively for further analysis. Target cells could be encapsulated in sodium alginate droplets which solidified into hydrogel when reacted with Ca²⁺. The size of hydrogel beads could be precisely controlled by modulating flow rates of continuous/disperse phases. While regulating fluid resistance between the main channel and passages by the integrated pneumatic valves, on‐chip capture and release of hydrogel beads was implemented. As a proof of concept for on‐chip single‐cell treatments, we showed cellular live/dead staining based on our devices. This method would have potential in single cell manipulation for biochemical cellular assays.