Assembly and Operation of an Acoustofluidic Device for Enhanced Delivery of Molecular Compounds to Cells

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Efficient intracellular delivery of biomolecules is required for a broad range of biomedical research and cell-based therapeutic applications. Ultrasound-mediated sonoporation is an emerging technique for rapid intracellular delivery of biomolecules. Sonoporation occurs when cavitation of gas-filled microbubbles forms transient pores in nearby cell membranes, which enables rapid uptake of biomolecules from the surrounding fluid. Current techniques for in vitro sonoporation of cells in suspension are limited by slow throughput, variability in the ultrasound exposure conditions for each cell, and high cost. To address these limitations, a low-cost acoustofluidic device has been developed which integrates an ultrasound transducer in a PDMS-based fluidic device to induce consistent sonoporation of cells as they flow through the channels in combination with ultrasound contrast agents. The device is fabricated using standard photolithography techniques to produce the PDMS-based fluidic chip. An ultrasound piezo disk transducer is attached to the device and driven by a microcontroller. The assembly can be integrated inside a 3D-printed case for added protection. Cells and microbubbles are pushed through the device using a syringe pump or a peristaltic pump connected to PVC tubing. Enhanced delivery of biomolecules to human T cells and lung cancer cells is demonstrated with this acoustofluidic system. Compared to bulk treatment approaches, this acoustofluidic system increases throughput and reduces variability, which can improve cell processing methods for biomedical research applications and manufacturing of cell-based therapeutics.

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Centner, C.S., Murphy, E.M., Stamp, B.F., Priddy, M.C., Moore, J.T., Bates, P.J., Menze, M.A., Yaddanapudi, K., Kopechek, J.A. "Assembly and Operation of an Acoustofluidic Device for Enhanced Delivery of Molecular Compounds to Cells." 2021 Journal of Visual Experiments (JoVe) (167), e62035, doi:10.3791/62035.





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