An integrated microfluidic bubble pocket for long-term perfused three-dimensional intestine-on-a-chip model

Biomicrofluidics. 2021 Feb 17;15(1):014110. doi: 10.1063/5.0036527. eCollection 2021 Jan.


Perfused three-dimensional (3D) cultures enable long-term in situ growth and monitoring of 3D organoids making them well-suited for investigating organoid development, growth, and function. One of the limitations of this long-term on-chip perfused 3D culture is unintended and disruptive air bubbles. To overcome this obstacle, we invented an imaging platform that integrates an innovative microfluidic bubble pocket for long-term perfused 3D culture of gastrointestinal (GI) organoids. We successfully applied 3D printing technology to create polymer molds that cast polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) culture chambers in addition to bubble pockets. Our developed platform traps unintended, or induced, air bubbles in an integrated PDMS pocket chamber, where the bubbles diffuse out across the gas permeable PDMS or an outlet tube. We demonstrated that our robust platform integrated with the novel bubble pocket effectively circumvents the development of bubbles into human and mouse GI organoid cultures during long-term perfused time-course imaging. Our platform with the innovative integrated bubble pocket is ideally suited for studies requiring long-term perfusion monitoring of organ growth and morphogenesis as well as function.