Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 28883466
Nat Commun 2017 09;8(1):469
Three-dimensional cell culture is emerging as a more relevant alternative to the traditional two-dimensional format. Yet the ability to perform cytometry at the single cell level on intact three-dimensional spheroids or together with temporal regulation of the cell microenvironment remains limited. Here we describe a microfluidic platform to perform high-density three-dimensional culture, controlled stimulation, and observation in a single chip. The method extends the capabilities of droplet microfluidics for performing long-term culture of adherent cells. Using arrays of 500 spheroids per chip, in situ immunocytochemistry and image analysis provide multiscale cytometry that we demonstrate at the population scale, on 10 single spheroids, and over 10 single cells, correlating functionality with cellular location within the spheroids. Also, an individual spheroid can be extracted for further analysis or culturing. This will enable a shift towards quantitative studies on three-dimensional cultures, under dynamic conditions, with implications for stem cells, organs-on-chips, or cancer research.3D cell culture is more relevant than the two-dimensional format, but methods for parallel analysis and temporal regulation of the microenvironment are limited. Here the authors develop a droplet microfluidics system to perform long-term culture of 3D spheroids, enabling multiscale cytometry of individual cells within the spheroid.