A rapid co-culture stamping device for studying intercellular communication
Nature Publishing Group
Place of Publication
School of Engineering
Regulation of tissue development and repair depends on communication between neighbouring cells. Recent advances in cell micro-contact printing and microfluidics have facilitated the in-vitro study of homotypic and heterotypic cell-cell interaction. Nonetheless, these techniques are still complicated to perform and as a result, are seldom used by biologists. We report here development of a temporarily sealed microfluidic stamping device which utilizes a novel valve design for patterning two adherent cell lines with well-defined interlacing configurations to study cell-cell interactions. We demonstrate post-stamping cell viability of >95%, the stamping of multiple adherent cell types, and the ability to control the seeded cell density. We also show viability, proliferation and migration of cultured cells, enabling analysis of co-culture boundary conditions on cell fate. We also developed an in-vitro model of endothelial and cardiac stem cell interactions, which are thought to regulate coronary repair after myocardial injury. The stamp is fabricated using microfabrication techniques, is operated with a lab pipettor and uses very low reagent volumes of 20 μl with cell injection efficiency of >70%. This easy-to-use device provides a general strategy for micro-patterning of multiple cell types and will be important for studying cell-cell interactions in a multitude of applications.
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