Cell culture & Organ-on-a-chip

The science of flow control for cell culture & Organ-on-a-chip applications

Organ-on-a-chip (OOAC) is the concept of mimicking the organ-level function of human physiology or disease using cells inside a microfluidic chip. Microfluidics enables one the unique ability to control the cellular microenvironment with high spatiotemporal precision and to present cells with mechanical and biochemical signals in a more physiologically relevant context. The manipulation of the micro-liter volumes of liquids has made these models a platform where scaling, and dynamic crosstalk between cells can be achieved. Microfluidic chips can now use geometries and structures to permit the use of physiological length scales, concentration gradients, and the mechanical forces generated by fluid flow to mimic the in vivo microenvironment experienced by cells. These biomimetic platforms overcome many drawbacks encountered with conventional tissue culture models.
Main benefits
  • In-vitro model
  • Better mimicked and controlled microenvrionment
  • Cost-effective
  • Scaling possible

Main applications

Therapy development

Organ-on-a-chip (OOC) platforms have proven potential in providing tremendous flexibility and robustness in drug screening and development by employing engineering techniques and materials. More importantly, in recent years there is a clear upward trend in studies that utilize human-induced pluripotent stem cell (hiPSC) to develop personalized tissue or organ models.

Drug discovery

The development of emerging in vitro tissue culture platforms can be useful for predicting human response to new compounds, which has been traditionally challenging in the field of drug discovery. Recently, several in vitro tissue-like microsystems, also known as ‘organs-on-a-chip’, have emerged to provide new tools for better evaluating the effects of various chemicals on human tissue.

Regenerative medicine

Organoid technology and organ-on-a-chip engineering have emerged as two distinct approaches for stem cell-derived 3D tissue preparation. Their strategic integration can address each approach’s limitations and provide a path toward a superior, synergistic strategy of constructing tissues that will truly deliver on the promise of regenerative and precision medicine.

Importance of fluid handling for cell culture

In many labs, considerable effort is put into choosing the right chip design, but the impact of flow control is still undetermined. It is our intent to create awareness of the importance of flow and its effects on one’s studies.
Optimized cell culture activity: Constant perfusion enables the continuous renewal of nutrients and oxygen to promote cell growth and maintain optimal activity during long-term cell culture. More information here.
Biomechanics: Organ on a chip technology has paved the way for investigating the impact of mechanical strain in cell biology research by reproducing key aspects of an in vivo cellular microenvironment. Combining microfluidics and microfabrication enables one to reproduce mechanical forces experienced by living tissues at the cell scale.
Passive stimulation induced by shear flow: Liquid flow usually induces shear stress on cells or tissues cultured on the device and is called shear flow. The effect is substantial on cell growth, phenotype, and genetic expression. More information here.

Active mechanical stimulations originate from the function of the organ. Organs like lung, muscle, intestine are in active motion. Cells in those organs are mainly subjected to compression and stretching. More information here.
Biochemical studies: Cells are constantly exposed to biochemical stimulation from the early embryonic stage to adult life. The spatiotemporal regulation of these signals is essential as it determines cell fate, phenotype, metabolic activity as well as pathological behaviors. The fast response and high stability of Fluigent instruments make them the best solution available on the market to reproduce these complex variations in vitro.More information here.

Read our expertise page to know more about the benefits of flow control in cell culture, learn more about our products and those of our partners (Beonchip) as well as reach out to our team of experts to find a solution that best meets your needs.

Flow control systems and Fluigent added value

Implementing perfusion and automated fluid delivery in cell biology protocols offer major advantages. Automation increases reproducibility compared to manual pipetting, saves time, and improves the level of control of the experiment as all the parameters are tightly regulated (time of delivery, volume, and speed of injection).
Multiple flow control technologies are available for sub-millimeter range fluid management. As demand for microfluidic pumps with higher flow stability, fast response time, versatility, and automation capabilities have increased, pressure controllers have become the device of choice.

Response time and stability

The working principle of such pumps is to pressurize the sample reservoirs to control the pressure drop between the inlet and the outlet of the microfluidic system. The responsiveness of the generated flow rate depends on the responsiveness of the pressure pump.

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