Publication Accepted in Biomicrofluidics

Our collaborated work with Dr. Adrienne Minerick’s lab was published in the paper titled “Characterizing the dielectric properties of human mesenchymal stem cells and the effects of charged elastin-like polypeptide copolymer treatment.”  Congratulations!

Human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) have three key properties that make them desirable for stem cell therapeutics: differentiation capacity, trophic activity, and ability to self-renew. However, current separation techniques are inefficient, time consuming, expensive, and, in some cases, alter hMSCs cellular function and viability. Dielectrophoresis (DEP) is a technique that uses alternating current electric fields to spatially separate biological cells based on the dielectric properties of their membrane and cytoplasm. This work implements the first steps toward the development of a continuous cell sorting microfluidic device by characterizing native hMSCs dielectric signatures and comparing them to hMSCs morphologically standardized with a polymer. A quadrapole Ti-Au electrode microdevice was used to observe hMSC DEP behaviors, and quantify frequency spectra and cross-over frequency of hMSCs from 0.010–35 MHz in dextrose buffer solutions (0.030 S/m and 0.10 S/m). This combined approach included a systematic parametric study to fit a core-shell model to the DEP spectra over the entire tested frequency range, adding robustness to the analysis technique. The membrane capacitance and permittivitywere found to be 2.2 pF and 2.0 in 0.030 S/m and 4.5 pF and 4.1 in 0.10 S/m, respectively. Elastin-like polypeptide (ELP-) polyethyleneimine (PEI) copolymer was used to control hMSCs morphology to spheroidal cells and aggregates. Results demonstrated that ELP-PEI treatment controlled hMSCs morphology, increased experiment reproducibility, and concurrently increased hMSCs membrane permittivity to shift the cross-over frequency above 35 MHz. Therefore, ELP-PEI treatment may serve as a tool for the eventual determination of biosurface marker-dependentDEP signatures and hMSCs purification. [Read More]