Micro-scale and microfluidic devices for neurobiology

Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2010 Oct;20(5):640-7. doi: 10.1016/j.conb.2010.07.011. Epub 2010 Aug 23.


The precise spatial and temporal control afforded by microfluidic devices make them uniquely suited as experimental tools for cellular neuroscience. Micro-structures have been developed to direct the placement of cells and small organisms within a device. Microfluidics can precisely define pharmacological microenvironments, mimicking conditions found in vivo with the advantage of defined parameters which are usually difficult to control and manipulate in vivo. These devices are compatible with high-resolution microscopy, are simple to assemble, and are reproducible. In this review we will focus on microfluidic devices that have recently been developed for small, whole organisms such as C. elegans and dissociated cultured neurons. These devices have improved control over the placement of cells or organisms and allowed unprecedented experimental access, enabling novel investigations in neurobiology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Microfluidic Analytical Techniques / instrumentation
  • Microfluidic Analytical Techniques / methods
  • Microfluidic Analytical Techniques / trends*
  • Microfluidics / instrumentation
  • Microfluidics / methods
  • Microfluidics / trends*
  • Models, Animal
  • Neurobiology / instrumentation
  • Neurobiology / methods
  • Neurobiology / trends*
  • Neurons / cytology
  • Neurons / physiology