The application of microfluidics technologies to the study of retinal function and response holds great promise for development of new and improved treatments for patients with degenerative retinal diseases. Restoration of vision via retinal transplantation therapy has been severely limited by the low numbers of motile cells observed post transplantation. Using modern soft lithographic techniques, we have developed the μRetina, a novel and convenient biomimetic microfluidics device capable of examing the migratory behavior of retinal lineage cells within biomimetic geometries of the human and mouse retina. Coupled computer simulations and experimental validations were used to characterize and confirm the formation of chemical concentration gradients within the μRetina, while real-time images within the device captured radial and theta cell migration in response to concentration gradients of stromal derived factor (SDF-1), a known chemoattractant. Our data underscore how the μRetina can be used to examine the concentration-dependent migration of retinal progenitors in order to enhance current therapies, as well as develop novel migration-targeted treatments.
Keywords: Diffusion; Migration; Progenitor; Retina; SDF-1.