Laborless, automated microfluidic tandem cell processor for visualizing intracellular molecules of mammalian cells

Tinglin Mu, Hajime Toyoda, Yuki Kimura, Masumi Yamada*, Rie Utoh, Daisuke Umeno, Minoru Seki

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Visualization and quantification of intracellular molecules of mammalian cells are crucial steps in clinical diagnosis, drug development, and basic biological research. However, conventional methods rely mostly on labor-intensive, centrifugation-based manual operations for exchanging the cell carrier medium and have limited reproducibility and recovery efficiency. Here we present a microfluidic cell processor that can perform four-step exchange of carrier medium, simply by introducing a cell suspension and fluid reagents into the device. The reaction time period for each reaction step, including fixation, membrane permeabilization, and staining, was tunable in the range of 2 to 15 min by adjusting the volume of the reaction tube connecting the neighboring exchanger modules. We double-stained the cell nucleus and cytoskeleton (F-actin) using the presented device with an overall reaction period of ∼30 min, achieving a high recovery ratio and high staining efficiency. Additionally, intracellular cytokine (IL-2) was visualized for T cells to demonstrate the feasibility of the device as a pretreatment system for downstream flow-cytometric analysis. The presented approach would facilitate the development of laborless, automated microfluidic systems that integrate cell processing and analysis operations and would pave a new path to high-throughput biological experiments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2580-2588
Number of pages9
JournalAnalytical Chemistry
Volume92
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Feb 4
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry

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