When creating a microfluidic model using polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS), is PDMS used only as a stamp to lay proteins in coverslips or can cells be cultured in the channels or patterns created in PDMS?

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    $\begingroup$ can you add some information about PDMS to those users who are not as familiar with it? it would greatly strengthen/clarify your question. Thanks for your contribution! $\endgroup$ – Vance L Albaugh Oct 30 '16 at 15:29
  • $\begingroup$ Well, it's definitely usable for more than just stamps - you can certainly perform experiments on cells within PDMS channels/patterns, etc. Not sure about long-term culture. (PS: I don't think this question needs information about PDMS - for those who don't know: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polydimethylsiloxane) $\endgroup$ – AJK Oct 30 '16 at 20:54
  • $\begingroup$ @AJK, it does need more information about PDMS but not much. PDMS is an abbreviation so the full name should be included in the question. $\endgroup$ – Michael_A Oct 30 '16 at 23:04
  • $\begingroup$ Thank you for your responses. I did include the full name. But I have no problem providing more information about PDMS. So, again, PDMS stands for Polydimethylsiloxane. it's a bio-material with several applications. the main properties of the material are that it is bio compatible (non toxic), it is very elastic, chemically stable, transparent, so it's perfect for imaging etc. PDMS is used in soft lithography as a stamp to transfer patterns onto glass and then culture cells in those patterns. I was wondering if besides acting as a stamp PDMS structures could also be used to culture cells. $\endgroup$ – user27407 Oct 31 '16 at 3:59
  • $\begingroup$ I remember a friend of mine used to make microfluidic devices by pouring it in a cast and allowing for solidification. Basically, it is a building material. It can be used for cell cultures but then the matrix has to be made "bio-compatible" by coating it with appropriate substances. $\endgroup$ – WYSIWYG Oct 31 '16 at 8:05

PDMS in fact is established to be a reliable material for cell culture in many microfluidic devices. Here are several papers (Titles) including reviews on microfluidic devices using PDMS:

  • Microfluidic devices for cell cultivation and proliferation Here
  • Adhesion patterns in the microvasculature are dependent on bifurcation angle Here (Microvascular Research)
  • Advantages and challenges of microfluidic cell culture in polydimethylsiloxane devices Here
  • A physiological model of the tumor microenvironment for screening drug delivery systems Here (Cancer Research Proceedings)
  • A Novel Dynamic Neonatal Blood-Brain Barrier on a Chip Here (Plos One)
  • A novel microfluidic assay reveals a key role for protein kinase C δ in regulating human neutrophil–endothelium interaction Here(JLB - Journal of Leukocyte Biology)

My research at Temple University is actually based on a microfluidic device to study cell-cell interaction in a real-time fashion. Majority of established protocols are using fibronectin or collagen, and in the case of tumor cells culture, matrigel for extracellular matrix. Devices are being coated with the ECM protein and then cells can be cultured in the device.

We have shown that in our microfluidic device, human umbilical vein endothelial cells (a.k.a. HUVECs) are forming a complete 3D lumen in the channels.

It is important to note that due to the elasticity of the PDMS, cells are needed to be under physiological flow conditions. Otherwise, it was shown that the cells start to detach from the PDMS. Under such physiological conditions (flow, media, gas exchange), cells can be alive and functional up to a week or two, depending on the design. In our system, the last two publications, cells are functional up to 2 weeks and 1 week respectively.

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    $\begingroup$ Could you link the cited papers?As of now the citations are meaningless. +1 for this answer and welcome 2 Bio. $\endgroup$ – AliceD Mar 16 '17 at 6:44

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