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Tag-Free Microfluidic Separation of Cells against Multiple Markers

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journal contribution
posted on 15.05.2012, 00:00 by Adam Hatch, Danielle M. Pesko, Shashi K. Murthy
Conventional cell separation against multiple markers generally requires the attachment of antibody tags, typically fluorescent or magnetic, to selected cell types in a heterogeneous suspension. This work describes how such separation can be accomplished in a series of microfluidic systems without the need for such tags. Two capture stages containing antibody-functionalized alginate hydrogels are utilized for the isolation of CD34+ and Flk1+ cells from untreated, whole human blood. The capture-release capability of these degradable coatings is harnessed by a mixing chamber and a simple valving system such that the suspension emerging from the first capture stage is prepared for the second capture stage for further enrichment. With this configuration, we demonstrate the isolation of CD34+/Flk1+ endothelial progenitor cells from blood enabled by the depletion of CD34+/Flk1-hematopoietic stem cells population. This ability to achieve isolation of cells against multiple markers in an untagged separation method is of particular significance in applications involving cell implantation-based therapeutics including tissue engineering and molecular analysis.