We present a microfluidic bioreactor for culturing high-density arrays of hepatocytes in a tissue-like micro-architecture. The microfluidic environment mimicked physiological liver mass transport, enabling sustained culture of high density cells (>2,000 cells/mm2) without nutrient limitation for over 1 week. The key feature of this design was a microporous microfluidic barrier that formed a sieved-pocket to concentrate cells during loading. Nutrient depletion within the cell mass was avoided by maintaining a continuous flow of medium (10 μl/day) that diffused across the porous barrier. Human hepatoma cells (HepG2/C3A) remained viable and functional as demonstrated by fluorescent viability assays and secretion of albumin for the one-week culture period.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
work was funded by the NSF SBIR
- Cell culture