Microfluidic chambers for cell migration and neuroscience research

Methods Mol Biol. 2006;321:167-77. doi: 10.1385/1-59259-997-4:167.


This chapter describes the fabrication and use microfluidic chambers for cell migration and neuroscience research. Both microfluidic chambers are made using soft lithography and replica molding. The main advantages of using soft lithography to create microfluidic chambers are reproducibility, ease of use, and straightforward fabrication procedures. The devices can be fabricated in biology and chemistry laboratories with minimal access to clean-room facilities. First, a microfluidic chemotaxis chamber, which has been used in investigating chemotaxis of neutrophils, human breast cancer cells, and other cell types, is described. Precise and stable gradients of chemoattractants with arbitrary shapes can be generated for different applications. Second, a multicompartment culture chamber that can fluidically isolate neuronal processes from cell bodies is described. The design of this chamber is such that only neurites grow through a series of microgrooves embedded in a physical barrier. Both devices are compatible with phase, differential interference contrast, and fluorescence microscopy.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Movement / physiology*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Microfluidics*
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Neurosciences / instrumentation*
  • Neurosciences / methods*
  • Neurosciences / trends
  • Rats
  • Reproducibility of Results