Langmuir : the ACS journal of surfaces and colloids

Hybrid cell adhesive material for instant dielectrophoretic cell trapping and long-term cell function assessment.

PMID 21702467


Dielectrophoresis (DEP) for cell manipulation has focused, for the most part, on approaches for separation/enrichment of cells of interest. Advancements in cell positioning and immobilization onto substrates for cell culture, either as single cells or as cell aggregates, has benefited from the intensified research efforts in DEP (electrokinetic) manipulation. However, there has yet to be a DEP approach that provides the conditions for cell manipulation while promoting cell function processes such as cell differentiation. Here we present the first demonstration of a system that combines DEP with a hybrid cell adhesive material (hCAM) to allow for cell entrapment and cell function, as demonstrated by cell differentiation into neuronlike cells (NLCs). The hCAM, comprised of polyelectrolytes and fibronectin, was engineered to function as an instantaneous cell adhesive surface after DEP manipulation and to support long-term cell function (cell proliferation, induction, and differentiation). Pluripotent P19 mouse embryonal carcinoma cells flowing within a microchannel were attracted to the DEP electrode surface and remained adhered onto the hCAM coating under a fluid flow field after the DEP forces were removed. Cells remained viable after DEP manipulation for up to 8 d, during which time the P19 cells were induced to differentiate into NLCs. This approach could have further applications in areas such as cell-cell communication, three-dimensional cell aggregates to create cell microenvironments, and cell cocultures.