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Volume 8, Issue 1, January 2014
Various single-cell retention structures (SCRSs) were reported for analysis of single cells within microfluidic devices. Undesirable flow behaviors within micro-environments not only influence single-cell manipulation and retention significantly but also lead to cell damage, biochemical heterogeneity among different individual cells (e.g., different cell signaling pathways induced by shear stress). However, the fundamentals in flow behaviors for single-cell manipulation and shear stress reduction, especially comparison of these behaviors in different microstructures, were not fully investigated in previous reports. Herein, flow distribution and induced shear stress in two different single-cell retention structures (SCRS I and SCRS II) were investigated in detail to study their effects on single-cell trapping using computational fluid dynamics (CFD) methods. The results were successfully verified by experimental results. Comparison between these two SCRS shows that the wasp-waisted configuration of SCRS II has a better performance in trapping and manipulating long cylinder-shaped cardiac myocytes and provides a safer “harbor” for fragile cells to prevent cell damage due to the shear stress induced from strong flows. The simulation results have not only explained flow phenomena observed in experiments but also predict new flow phenomena, providing guidelines for new chip design and optimization, and a better understanding of the cell micro-environment and fundamentals of microfluidic flows in single-cell manipulation and analysis.
8(2014); http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.4865167View Description Hide Description
Microfluidics offers unique ways of handling and manipulating microorganisms, which has particularly benefited Caenorhabditis elegans research. Optics plays a major role in these microfluidic platforms, not only as a read-out for the biological systems of interest but also as a vehicle for applying perturbations to biological systems. Here, we describe different areas of research in C. elegans developmental biology and behavior neuroscience enabled by microfluidics combined with the optical components. In particular, we highlight the diversity of optical tools and methods in use and the strategies implemented in microfluidics to make the devices compatible with optical techniques. We also offer some thoughts on future challenges in adapting advancements in optics to microfluidic platforms.