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A Miniaturized Multipurpose Platform for Rapid, Label-Free, and Simultaneous Separation, Patterning, and In Vitro Culture of Primary and Rare Cells

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Abstract

Given that current cell isolation techniques are expensive, time consuming, yield low isolation purities, and/or alter target cell properties, a versatile, cost effective, and easy-to-operate microchip with the capability to simultaneously separate, capture, pattern, and culture rare and primary cells in vitro is developed. The platform is based on target cell adhesion onto the micro-fabricated interfaces produced by microcontact printing of cell-specific antibodies. Results show over 95% separation efficiency in less than 10 min for the separation of oligodendrocyte progenitor cells (OPCs) and cardiomyocytes from rat brain and heart mixtures, respectively. Target cell attachment and single cell spreading can be precisely controlled on the basis of the designed patterns. Both cell types can maintain their biofunctionality. Indeed, isolated OPCs can proliferate and differentiate into mature oligodendrocytes, while isolated cardiomyocytes retain their contractile properties on the separation platform. Successful separation of two dissimilar cell types present in varying concentrations in their respective cell mixtures and the demonstration of their integrity after separation open new avenues for time and cost-effective sorting of various cell types using the developed miniaturized platform.

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