Systematic prevention of bubble formation and accumulation for long-term culture of pancreatic islet cells in microfluidic device

Biomed Microdevices. 2012 Apr;14(2):419-26. doi: 10.1007/s10544-011-9618-3.


Reliable long-term cell culture in microfluidic system is limited by air bubble formation and accumulation. In this study, we developed a bubble removal system capable of both trapping and discharging air bubbles in a consistent and reliable manner. Combined with PDMS (Polydimethylsiloxane) hydrophilic surface treatment and vacuum filling, a microfluidic perifusion system equipped with the bubble trap was successfully applied for long-term culture of mouse pancreatic islets with no bubble formation and no flow interruption. In addition to demonstrating normal cell viability and islet morphology, post-cultured islets exhibited normal insulin secretion kinetics, intracellular calcium signaling, and changes in mitochondrial potentials in response to glucose challenge. This design could be easily adapted by other microfluidic systems due to its simple design, ease of fabrication, and portability.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Culture Techniques / instrumentation
  • Cell Culture Techniques / methods*
  • Cell Survival
  • Dimethylpolysiloxanes / metabolism
  • Equipment Design
  • Glucose / metabolism
  • Insulin / metabolism
  • Insulin Secretion
  • Islets of Langerhans / cytology*
  • Islets of Langerhans / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Microfluidic Analytical Techniques / instrumentation*
  • Microfluidic Analytical Techniques / methods*
  • Microfluidics / instrumentation


  • Dimethylpolysiloxanes
  • Insulin
  • baysilon
  • Glucose