18 Jun Microgravity-on-a-chip facilitates microgravity cellular experiments
It is well known that the presence of mechanical cues is of significant importance in developmental biology. The extracellular forces that the cells experience in space where gravity is negligible compared to the earth differ from their natural condition. This change in the gravitational field and thus the extracellular mechanical forces can affect the cellular mechanisms. For this week’s research highlight, we have selected a microfluidic platform that allows studying cell behaviour under disrupted gravity. In an article recently published in npj Microgravity, a research team reported a microfluidic device called microgravity-on-a-chip (MOC) that facilitates microgravity experiments. The proposed microfluidic platform was shown to be capable of handling a variety of biological assays such as proliferation, viability, morphology, protein expression and imaging of molecular structures in a microgravity environment.
” Here, we developed an easy-to-use hybrid biological platform designed with the precision of 3D printing technologies combined with PDMS microfluidic fabrication processes to facilitate reliable and reproducible microgravity cellular experiments. The system has been characterized for applications in the contest of brain cancer research by exposing glioblastoma and endothelial cells to 24 h of simulated microgravity condition to investigate the triggered mechanosensing pathways involved in cellular adaptation to the new environment.“, the authors explained.
“This study introduces and highlights the application of the MOC in advancing cell biology research under simulated μG condition, as a simple and easy-to-use alternative strategy. The features of the MOC and the ability to conduct basic and advanced molecular biology assays were demonstrated by unveiling insights into the underlying mechanotransduction response of glioma and endothelial cells to the mechanical unloaded condition. “, the authors concluded.
Figures are reproduced were reproduced from Silvani, G., Bradbury, P., Basirun, C. et al. Testing 3D printed biological platform for advancing simulated microgravity and space mechanobiology research. npj Microgravity 8, 19 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41526-022-00207-6 under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.