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Cell migration is involved in physiological processes such as wound healing, host defense, and cancermetastasis. The movement of various cell types can be directed by chemical gradients (i.e., chemotaxis). In addition to chemotaxis, many cell types can respond to direct current electric fields (dcEF) by migrating to either the cathode or the anode of the field (i.e., electrotaxis). In tissues, physiological chemical gradients and dcEF can potentially co-exist and the two guiding mechanisms may direct cell migration in a coordinated manner. Recently, microfluidic devices that can precisely configure chemical gradients or dcEF have been increasingly developed and used for chemotaxis and electrotaxis studies. However, a microfluidic device that can configure controlled co-existing chemical gradients and dcEF that would allow quantitative cell migration analysis in complex electrochemical guiding environments is not available. In this study, we developed a polydimethylsiloxane-based microfluidic device that can generate better controlled single or co-existing chemical gradients and dcEF. Using this device, we showed chemotactic migration of T cells toward a chemokine CCL19 gradient or electrotactic migration toward the cathode of an applied dcEF. Furthermore, T cells migrated more strongly toward the cathode of a dcEF in the presence of a competing CCL19 gradient, suggesting the higher electrotactic attraction. Taken together, the developed microfluidic device offers a new experimental tool for studying chemical and electrical guidance for cell migration, and our current results with T cells provide interesting new insights of immune cell migration in complex guiding environments.


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