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On-Chip Titration of an Anticoagulant Argatroban and Determination of the Clotting Time within Whole Blood or Plasma Using a Plug-Based Microfluidic System

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journal contribution
posted on 15.07.2006, 00:00 by Helen Song, Hung-Wing Li, Matthew S. Munson, Thuong G. Van Ha, Rustem F. Ismagilov
This paper describes extending plug-based microfluidics to handling complex biological fluids such as blood, solving the problem of injecting additional reagents into plugs, and applying this system to measuring of clotting time in small volumes of whole blood and plasma. Plugs are droplets transported through microchannels by fluorocarbon fluids. A plug-based microfluidic system was developed to titrate an anticoagulant (argatroban) into blood samples and to measure the clotting time using the activated partial thromboplastin time (APTT) test. To carry out these experiments, the following techniques were developed for a plug-based system:  (i) using Teflon AF coating on the microchannel wall to enable formation of plugs containing blood and transport of the solid fibrin clots within plugs, (ii) using a hydrophilic glass capillary to enable reliable merging of a reagent from an aqueous stream into plugs, (iii) using bright-field microscopy to detect the formation of a fibrin clot within plugs and using fluorescent microscopy to detect the production of thrombin using a fluorogenic substrate, and (iv) titration of argatroban (0−1.5 μg/mL) into plugs and measurement of the resulting APTTs at room temperature (23 °C) and physiological temperature (37 °C). APTT measurements were conducted with normal pooled plasma (platelet-poor plasma) and with donor's blood samples (both whole blood and platelet-rich plasma). APTT values and APTT ratios measured by the plug-based microfluidic device were compared to the results from a clinical laboratory at 37 °C. APTT obtained from the on-chip assay were about double those from the clinical laboratory but the APTT ratios from these two methods agreed well with each other.