Microfluidic platform incorporating bioactive PEG hydrogel for optimized hepatocyte function
Kumar, Supriya Kamakshi
Date of Issue2016
School of Materials Science and Engineering
To engineer a functional in vitro liver tissue platform, necessary for drug testing and fundamental liver disease studies, it is important to recapitulate important parameters of the hepatic microenvironment. Recent introduction of microfluidics to cell culture has enabled a high degree of control over the specific culture parameters, analysis of cells, and development of scaffolds. In this thesis, we focus on the microfluidic scaffold and propose to develop and integrate a bioactive synthetic hydrogel in a perfusable sealed microfluidic device (μFD) as a platform for encapsulated hepatocyte cell culture. Our overall hypothesis is that collagen type I (Col I)- functionalized poly (ethylene glycol) (PEG) hydrogel integrated in a sealed μFD is a hepatocyte cell culture platform comparable to widespread μFDs using Col I gel. The macromer concentration and bioactivity of the PEG hydrogel were tailored using simple chemistries and the integration of the bioactive hydrogel in the μFD was evaluated. Huh-7.5 cells were encapsulated in the scaffolds and biological assays were employed to identify the best conditions for cell culture. Another parameter explored was the introduction of pressure-induced flow to see if the microfluidic hydrogel could be perfused. The findings of this thesis research demonstrate the potential of PEG hydrogel to be used as a tailorable integrated microfluidic hydrogel for liver tissue engineering. This thesis research will contribute to the further development of an artificial liver platform that can then be used to test the efficacy of drugs.