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Microfluidic systems: A new toolbox for pluripotent stem cells

Authors

  • Sasha Cai Lesher-Perez,

    1. Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA
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  • John P. Frampton,

    1. Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA
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  • Prof. Shuichi Takayama

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA
    2. Department of Macromolecular Science and Engineering, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA
    3. Division of Nano-Bio and Chemical Engineering WCU Project, UNIST, Ulsan, Republic of Korea
    • Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA
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Abstract

Conventional culture systems are often limited in their ability to regulate the growth and differentiation of pluripotent stem cells. Microfluidic systems can overcome some of these limitations by providing defined growth conditions with user-controlled spatiotemporal cues. Microfluidic systems allow researchers to modulate pluripotent stem cell renewal and differentiation through biochemical and mechanical stimulation, as well as through microscale patterning and organization of cells and extracellular materials. Essentially, microfluidic tools are reducing the gap between in vitro cell culture environments and the complex and dynamic features of the in vivo stem cell niche. These microfluidic culture systems can also be integrated with microanalytical tools to assess the health and molecular status of pluripotent stem cells. The ability to control biochemical and mechanical input to cells, as well as rapidly and efficiently analyze the biological output from cells, will further our understanding of stem cells and help translate them into clinical use. This review provides a comprehensive insignt into the implications of microfluidics on pluripotent stem cell research.

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