Here at Creative Biolabs, flow-based microfluidic chips have been customized and widely used for the study of cell migration. Such systems can generate precisely defined chemical gradients and controllable physical conditions and allow direct visualization of migrating cells.
The migration ability of cells is closely related to a wide range of physiological activities, and plays an important role in many biological processes in multicellular organisms, including embryonic development, immune response, and wound healing. It is crucial to reproduce these physiological activities in the design of chips. In tissues, cell migration is guided by complex extracellular environmental factors, such as chemical gradients, mechanical stimuli, or cell electric fields. In addition, many environmental cues also guide/sense cell migration. These chemokines can organize specific adhesion molecules, interact with receptors on migrating cells, and further process chemotactic signals through downstream signaling pathways. In organisms, tissues often use dense three-dimensional scaffolds to support the growth and migration of cells, and the extracellular matrix of many components occupies the extracellular space in the form of gel, including various proteoglycans, fibrin, collagen, and laminin.
Due to the complex extracellular microenvironment and the high cell density of biological tissues, the migration and spread of cells in vivo often occur under varying degrees of restriction, causing motile cells to continuously adjust their shape and migration strategy. To face the importance and complexity of this process, a number of in vitro systems have been developed to characterize and study cell motility and migration patterns, which can replicate the physiology of human tissues, especially the mechanics, structure, and chemistry of the ECM. Some typical cell migration microchip designs are listed in the table below.
Table.1 Cell migration microchip designs. (Sala, 2022)
|Straight channels||Compare migration behavior based on chemical stimuli or channel size and perform chemotaxis assays.||Straight channels of constant cross-section with variable channel dimensions.||
|Microchannels||Study migration strategies based on local 3D channel geometry, such as tapering, height confinement or cell traps.||Variable cross-section with different shapes.||
Using pillar arrays as ECM.
Study of cell migration through subnuclear pore according to environmental geometry.
|Micro pillar arrays.||
|Fluidic Maze||Investigating cellular decision-making and cellular environment detection capabilities during migration.||Constant cross-section single-channel maze.||
Combining standard techniques for cell migration with microfluidic approaches, two-dimensional straight channel assemblies with simple geometries have been developed. The simple geometry of a PDMS biochip for studying cell migration and chemotaxis can consist of a series of straight channels linking two reservoirs, and this simple configuration can induce spatially confined stimulation of cells during cell migration. In addition, our three-channel chip is also one of the best choices for your cell migration experiments. By perfusing the central channel with hydrogel, a 3D scaffold with controllable cell migration can be formed.
Fig 1. Schematic of three-channel cell migration chip. (Anguiano, 2017)
More complex and advanced geometries have also been used to explore many key factors in cell migration and chemotaxis. The key idea of microfluidic chips is to use micro-processing technology to construct specific functional modules. In cell migration experiments, research often focuses on the precise control of the gradient distribution of chemical factors and the visualization and quantification of cell migration. Our gradient generation chip can generate instant chemical gradients perpendicular to the flow direction through the parallel flow characteristics of laminar flow, and this chip can maintain stable chemoattractant gradients in long-term studies. More complex microfluidic systems are also used to simulate complex in vivo microenvironments at the tissue or organ level. Through precise control of mechanical structures and implanted cells, we currently also provide various organ chips for cell physiology or pathology conditional migration analysis.
Fig 2. Gradient generation chip with Xmas tree structure. (Xu, 2012)
Our soft lithography processing technology platform can achieve a minimum feature size of a few microns with precise control of the geometry, which makes high-complexity cell migration chips a reality. Creative Biolabs now provides our clients with standardized and simplified cell migration chips. We are also very happy to customize fluidic mazes according to customer needs. Our microfluidic technology platform realizes the precise control of biological, physical and chemical environments, customizes your chips according to the requirements of specific biological experiments. In fact, microfluidic technology is becoming a valuable tool for studying cell migration under space constraints, and our products and customized services may help you comprehensively evaluate cell migration characteristics, so don’t hesitate to contact us for more information.
For Research Use Only. Not For Clinical Use.