3D Printing of Soft Lithography Mold for Rapid Production of Polydimethylsiloxane-Based Microfluidic Devices for Cell Stimulation With Concentration Gradients

Biomed Microdevices. 2015 Apr;17(2):36. doi: 10.1007/s10544-015-9928-y.


Three-dimensional (3D) printing is advantageous over conventional technologies for the fabrication of sophisticated structures such as 3D micro-channels for future applications in tissue engineering and drug screening. We aimed to apply this technology to cell-based assays using polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS), the most commonly used material for fabrication of micro-channels used for cell culture experiments. Useful properties of PDMS include biocompatibility, gas permeability and transparency. We developed a simple and robust protocol to generate PDMS-based devices using a soft lithography mold produced by 3D printing. 3D chemical gradients were then generated to stimulate cells confined to a micro-channel. We demonstrate that concentration gradients of growth factors, important regulators of cell/tissue functions in vivo, influence the survival and growth of human embryonic stem cells. Thus, this approach for generation of 3D concentration gradients could have strong implications for tissue engineering and drug screening.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Culture Techniques / instrumentation*
  • Cell Culture Techniques / methods*
  • Dimethylpolysiloxanes / chemistry*
  • Embryonic Stem Cells / cytology
  • Embryonic Stem Cells / drug effects
  • Equipment Design
  • Female
  • Fibroblasts / cytology
  • Humans
  • Hydrogels / chemistry
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / pharmacology
  • Lab-On-A-Chip Devices*
  • Mice, Inbred ICR
  • Pregnancy
  • Printing, Three-Dimensional*


  • Dimethylpolysiloxanes
  • Hydrogels
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • baysilon