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Biomedical Optics Express

Biomedical Optics Express

  • Editor: Joseph A. Izatt
  • Vol. 1, Iss. 2 — Sep. 1, 2010
  • pp: 527–536

Optical injection of mammalian cells using a microfluidic platform

Robert F. Marchington, Yoshihiko Arita, Xanthi Tsampoula, Frank J. Gunn-Moore, and Kishan Dholakia  »View Author Affiliations

Biomedical Optics Express, Vol. 1, Issue 2, pp. 527-536 (2010)

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The use of a focused laser beam to create a sub-micron hole in the plasma membrane of a cell (photoporation), for the selective introduction of membrane impermeable substances (optical injection) including nucleic acids (optical transfection), is a powerful technique most commonly applied to treat single cells. However, particularly for femtosecond photoporation, these studies have been limited to low throughput, small-scale studies, because they require sequential dosing of individual cells. Herein, we describe a microfluidic photoporation system for increased throughput and automated optical injection of cells. Hydrodynamic focusing is employed to direct a flow of single-file cells through a focused femtosecond laser beam for photoporation. Upon traversing the beam, a number of transient pores potentially open across the extracellular membrane, which allows the uptake of the surrounding fluid media into the cytoplasm, also containing the chosen injection agent. The process is entirely automated and a rate of 1 cell/sec could readily be obtained, enabling several thousand cells to be injected per hour using this system. The efficiency of optically injecting propidium iodide into HEK293 mammalian cells was found to be 42 ± 8%, or 28 ± 4% taking into account the requirement of post-injection viability, as tested using Calcein AM. This work now opens the way for combining photoporation with microfluidic analyses, sorting, purification or on-chip cell culture studies.

© 2010 OSA

OCIS Codes
(000.1430) General : Biology and medicine
(020.4180) Atomic and molecular physics : Multiphoton processes
(140.7090) Lasers and laser optics : Ultrafast lasers
(170.3890) Medical optics and biotechnology : Medical optics instrumentation
(170.7160) Medical optics and biotechnology : Ultrafast technology
(140.3538) Lasers and laser optics : Lasers, pulsed

ToC Category:

Original Manuscript: June 1, 2010
Revised Manuscript: July 19, 2010
Manuscript Accepted: August 2, 2010
Published: August 9, 2010

Virtual Issues
Advances in Optical Coherence Tomography, Photoacoustic Imaging, and Microscopy (2010) Biomedical Optics Express

Robert F. Marchington, Yoshihiko Arita, Xanthi Tsampoula, Frank J. Gunn-Moore, and Kishan Dholakia, "Optical injection of mammalian cells using a microfluidic platform," Biomed. Opt. Express 1, 527-536 (2010)

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