Microfluidic environment for high density hepatocyte culture

Mimi Y. Zhang, Philip J. Lee, Paul J. Hung, Terry Johnson, Luke P. Lee, Mohammed R.K. Mofrad

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117-121
Number of pages5
JournalBiomedical Microdevices
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2008

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
work was funded by the NSF SBIR


  • Bioreactor
  • Cell culture
  • Hepatocytes
  • Microfluidics


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