Skip to ContentSkip to Navigation
About us Faculty of Science and Engineering Our Research GRIP Pharmaceutical Analysis

Cultivation and analysis of human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC) in microfluidic devices

Patty Mulder

Start May 2004

Project description

Cell biologists and medical researchers alike rely on in vitro cell cultures for studies of the effects of pharmaceutical compounds and other parameters on cells. It is clear, however, that cells raised in a culture flask with medium in incubators find themselves in an environment which little resembles that of their natural situation. As a result, cells are subject to more stress, which almost certainly will affect their growth and response to applied stimuli. The information obtained from in vitro studies has substantially furthered our understanding of the fundamental biological processes underlying life. However, a more accurate representation of cell response would most probably result if in vitro conditions could be made to more closely resemble the in vivo microenvironment.

In this project, we have chosen a microfluidic approach for the development of alternative, ultra-small volume tools for the cultivation and study of cells. Interconnected networks of micrometer-dimensioned channels formed in glass or silicon chips serve as the fluidic scaffolding at the heart of this technology. Controlled liquid handling, chemical analysis, and chemical processing is possible – with exquisite precision – down to the pL range. The advantages of using this approach are several: 1) more accurate recreation of the cells’ microenvironment becomes possible in microchannels, in which cell volumes will make up a far greater percentage of the total vessel volume 2) liquid handling is more controlled, so that cells are subjected to less chemical and mechanical stress 3) on-chip analysis of the cells and their environment becomes feasible 4) only small numbers of cells are required to create colonies of sufficient size for analysis. Pilot studies have shown that HUVEC cells can survive in a microfluidic environment for several days (Figure 1). Experiments are now underway to determine optimal geometries and solution conditions for directed cell growth in channels.

Laatst gewijzigd:04 februari 2020 12:52