A Perfused Microfluidic System to Study the Differentiation of Neural Stem Cells in vitro.
Liu Q., Xing S., Liu Y., Zhang Z., Lv L., Cui Z., Li Z., Ma W., Zhang T.
INTRODUCTION: Due to the ability to mimic in vivo cellular microenvironments, the development of multicell culture systems has received increasing interest for use as research models and serving as platforms for drug evaluation. METHODS: In this study, we developed a perfused microfluidic system to resemble the in vivo intercellular environment and applied it to study the differentiation from neural stem cells into neurons. RESULTS: As determined by immunofluorescence chemistry and quantitative real-time PCR, the neural stem cells grown in this microfluidic system showed an elevated differentiation rate toward the formation of neurons as determined by the increased level of βIII-tubulin production, which is 4 times higher than that of culturing neural stem cells only. CONCLUSION: These results revealed that some factors secreted into the intercellular microenvironment by adult neuron cells can stimulate the differentiation of neural stem cells, pointing to the importance of developing multicellular culture systems such as the perfused microfluidic system we report here to better resemble the in vivo situation.