Microfluidic cell culture has significant advantages over macroscopic culture in flasks, Petri dishes, and well-plates. This technology offers new possibilities to accurately reproduce the cellular environment and enables the analysis of biochemical processes that were not accessible before.
To mimic in vivo conditions, the type of perfusion system used is critical. Peristaltic pumps are widely used. They deliver a highly pulsatile flow that oscillates around the set flow rate value, which is not representative of any physiologic condition in the body and can damage cells. Conversely, a pressure-based system can deliver either constant flow or on-demand realistic pulsatile flow patterns simulating aortic flow.
To demonstrate the importance of flow stability in vascular models, endothelial cells seeded in microfluidic chips were perfused either using a peristaltic pump or pressure-based flow controllers.