Array of Biodegradable Microraftsfor Isolation and Implantation of Living, Adherent Cells

RSC Adv. 2013 Jun 28;3(24):9264-9272. doi: 10.1039/C3RA41764F.


A new strategy for efficient sorting and implantation of viable adherent cells into animals is described. An array of biodegradable micro-structures (microrafts) was fabricated using a polydimethylsiloxane substrate for micromolding poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA). Screening various forms of PLGA determined that the suitability of PLGA for microraft manufacture, biocompatibility and in vitro degradation was dependent on molecular weight and lactic/glycolic ratio. Cells plated on the array selectively attached to the microrafts and could be identified by their fluorescence, morphology or other criteria. The cells were efficiently dislodged and collected from the array using a microneedle device. The platform was used to isolate specific cells from a mixed population establishing the ability to sort target cells for direct implantation. As a proof of concept, fluorescently conjugated microrafts carrying tumor cells stably expressing luciferase were isolated from an array and implanted subcutaneously into mice. In vivo bio-luminescence imaging confirmed the growth of a tumor in the recipient animals. Imaging of tissue sections from the tumors demonstrated in vivo degradation of the implanted microrafts. The process is a new strategy for isolating and delivering a small number of adherent cells for animal implantation with potential applications in tissue repair, tumor induction, in vivo differentiation of stem cells and other biomedical research.