High-throughput generation of spheroids using magnetic nanoparticles for three-dimensional cell culture

Jeong Ah Kim, Jong Ho Choi, Minsoo Kim, Won Jong Rhee, Boram Son, Hyun Kyo Jung, Tai Hyun Park

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

82 Scopus citations


Various attempts have been made to develop three-dimensional (3-D) cell culture methods because 3-D cells mimic the structures and functional properties of real tissue compared with those of monolayer cultures. Here, we report on a highly simple and efficient 3-D spheroid generation method based on a magnetic pin-array system to concentrate magnetic nanoparticle-incorporated cells in a focal direction. This system was comprised only of external magnets and magnetically induced iron pins to generate a concentrated magnetic field for attracting cells in a focused direction. 3-D spheroid generation was achieved simply by adding magnetic nanoparticle-incorporated cells into a well and covering the plate with a magnetic lid. Cell clustering occurred rapidly within 5min and created more compact cells with time through the focused magnetic force. This system ensured not only reproducible and size-controlled generation of spheroids but also versatile types of spheroids such as random mixed, core-shell, and fused spheroids, providing a very useful tool for various biological applications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8555-8563
Number of pages9
Issue number34
StatePublished - Nov 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Pioneer Research Program and the Bio & Medical Technology Development Program, through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by Korean Government (MEST) (No. 20120001020 and 2012050100 ).


  • 3-Dimensional (3-D) cell culture
  • Magnetic field
  • Magnetic nanoparticles
  • Spheroid
  • Tissue engineering


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