Passively-Controlled Microfluidic Systems

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Some of the first systems available were passively-controlled microfluidic systems for cellular research such as Ibidi.com’s cell migration/chemotaxis plates or MilliporeSigma AXIS™ neural outgrowth platform. These specialized plates make observation and control of cellular behavior particularly easy. For example, the advantages to neuroscientists using a neural outgrowth microfluidic device are immediately apparent:
  • Controlled outgrowth of axons
  • Controlled cellular interactions
  • Isolation of dendritic/somatic and axonal microenvironments 
  • Controlled exposure of cells to diffusible reagents
With such passive but highly controllable microfluidic devices, a variety of live cell analyses can be performed and studied including, for instance, axon formation and primitive neuronal migration studies. These passive systems have proven value in exhibiting some control over diffusible material but have limited control over other important microenvironment parameters such as temperature, gas mixture, and nutrient flow.

Merck:/Freestyle/BI-Bioscience/Cell-Culture/cellASIC/AX450.jpgThe AXIS™ platform is a passively-controlled microfluidic slide-mounted system that enables the deposition and culture of neural cells and the spatially controlled addition of growth factors, toxins, and other reagents. Neurite outgrowth is restricted to narrow, parallel channels, and the resultant outgrowth or collapse behavior is easily observed under a microscope. The result is a powerful platform for the study of somas, neurites or synaptic formation.

Click here to read more about the AXIS™ Axon Isolation Device


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N1-115 cells clearly demonstrate neurite outgrowth through the AXIS channels (150 μm) using the Milli-Mark™ FluoroPan neuronal marker (MAB2300X) shown in green, versus DAPI (blue).
Triple staining of E18 rat hippocampal cell bodies, axons and growth cones using DAPI (blue), Map2 (AB15452. Green) and axon specific staining with anti-β-III tubullin (MAB1637, red) using the 450 μm AXIS device.