Multi-analyte biosensor interface for real-time monitoring of 3D microtissue spheroids in hanging-drop networks

Microsyst Nanoeng. 2016 Jun 6;2:16022. doi: 10.1038/micronano.2016.22. eCollection 2016.


Microfluidics is becoming a technology of growing interest for building microphysiological systems with integrated read-out functionalities. Here we present the integration of enzyme-based multi-analyte biosensors into a multi-tissue culture platform for 'body-on-a-chip' applications. The microfluidic platform is based on the technology of hanging-drop networks, which is designed for the formation, cultivation, and analysis of fluidically interconnected organotypic spherical three-dimensional (3D) microtissues of multiple cell types. The sensor modules were designed as small glass plug-ins featuring four platinum working electrodes, a platinum counter electrode, and an Ag/AgCl reference electrode. They were placed directly into the ceiling substrate from which the hanging drops that host the spheroid cultures are suspended. The electrodes were functionalized with oxidase enzymes to enable continuous monitoring of lactate and glucose through amperometry. The biosensors featured high sensitivities of 322±41 nA mM-1 mm-2 for glucose and 443±37 nA mM-1 mm-2 for lactate; the corresponding limits of detection were below 10 μM. The proposed technology enabled tissue-size-dependent, real-time detection of lactate secretion from single human colon cancer microtissues cultured in the hanging drops. Furthermore, glucose consumption and lactate secretion were monitored in parallel, and the impact of different culture conditions on the metabolism of cancer microtissues was recorded in real-time.

Keywords: biosensor; body on a chip; glucose; hanging drop; lactate; metabolism; spheroid.