Cultured cells are used in a variety of contexts ranging from high throughput screening of drugs to systems biology. Microfluidic devices for cell culture studies offer numerous advantages over plate-based cell culture, and because of this, are being increasingly used in laboratory settings.4,5 Microfluidic devices can provide physiologically relevant microenvironments by allowing for constant perfusion and 3D tissue-like structure. Additionally, time and costs are reduced due to decreased reagent volumes and automated handling. Higher surface-to-volume ratios can also offer improved and novel detection schemes. Existing microfluidic systems for cell-based lysate studies require the addition of lysis buffers and subsequent washing steps, increasing the complexity of such devices and reducing their ease of use. We have developed an integrated microfluidic cell analysis system that allows for continuous perfusion cell culture with on-demand cell lysis. Lysis is achieved by applying a DC voltage to electrochemically generate hydroxide inside the device. This lysis method differs from other electrical lysis techniques. Rather than relying on high electric fields to irreversibly electroporate the cells, electrochemically generated hydroxide ions permanently disrupt the cellular membrane by cleaving fatty acid groups, thereby releasing intracellular material.
Project end date: 08/13/08