Single-neuronal cell culture and monitoring platform using a fully transparent microfluidic DEP device

Sci Rep. 2018 Sep 4;8(1):13194. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-31576-2.


Dielectrophoresis using multi-electrode arrays allows a non-invasive interface with biological cells for long-term monitoring of electrophysiological parameters as well as a label-free and non-destructive technique for neuronal cell manipulation. However, experiments for neuronal cell manipulation utilizing dielectrophoresis have been constrained because dielectrophoresis devices generally function outside of the controlled environment (i.e. incubator) during the cell manipulation process, which is problematic because neurons are highly susceptible to the properties of the physiochemical environment. Furthermore, the conventional multi-electrode arrays designed to generate dielectrophoretic force are often fabricated with non-transparent materials that confound live-cell imaging. Here we present an advanced single-neuronal cell culture and monitoring platform using a fully transparent microfluidic dielectrophoresis device for the unabated monitoring of neuronal cell development and function. The device is mounted inside a sealed incubation chamber to ensure improved homeostatic conditions and reduced contamination risk. Consequently, we successfully trap and culture single neurons on a desired location and monitor their growth process over a week. The proposed single-neuronal cell culture and monitoring platform not only has significant potential to realize an in vitro ordered neuronal network, but also offers a useful tool for a wide range of neurological research and electrophysiological studies of neuronal networks.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Culture Techniques / instrumentation*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Equipment Design
  • Lab-On-A-Chip Devices*
  • Microfluidic Analytical Techniques / instrumentation
  • Neurons / cytology*
  • Optical Imaging / instrumentation
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Single-Cell Analysis / instrumentation*