Current approaches to study chemotaxis are limited by gradient instability, low throughput, cumbersome manual manipulations, high cell number requirements, and inability to acquire high-content data. We present here a new microfluidics-based approach to study leukocyte chemotaxis. The device features strong miniaturization of the use of cells (<12,000 cells per data point). The microfluidic channels in the device are arrayed in 96 well format and can be operated by standard liquid handling robotics or hand pippettes. Cells migrate along a surface in the presence of a stable gradient of chemoattractant that is maintained for at least three hours. We show the ability to obtain consistent dose response curves to chemoattractants as well as chemotactic inhibitors with the device. Because cells are microscopically accessible, the information content is high. Not only can the number of cells migrated be assessed, but also migration distances of individual cells, and even scoring of cell activation and polarization. In addition, we have developed a smaller slide-sized device embedded within an enclosure that prevents evaporation. This feature allows live cell tracking which can deliver highly detailed information on cellular behavior during chemotaxis.
- Copyright © 2011 by The American Association of Immunologists, Inc.