Directed cell migration plays important roles in physiological processes such as host defense, wound healing, cancer metastasis and embryogenesis. Many organisms are capable of directional migration, which can be guided by diverse cellular factors including chemical and electrical cues. Recently, microfluidic devices that consist of small channels with micrometer dimensions are being developed for cell migration studies. These devices can precisely configure and flexibly manipulate chemical concentration gradients and electric fields, and thus can be used to study the complex guiding mechanisms for cell migration. In this paper we highlight recent applications of microfluidic devices for cell migration research, with a focus on electric field-directed cell migration, to provide important and timely updates of this rapidly developing research field.
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