Monocytes represent a class of immune cells that play a key role in the innate and adaptive immune response against infections. One mechanism employed by monocytes for sensing foreign antigens is via toll-like receptors (TLRs)-transmembrane proteins that distinguish classes of foreign pathogens, for example, bacteria (TLR4, 5, and 9) vs. fungi (TLR2) vs. viruses (TLR3, 7, and 8). Binding of antigens activates a signaling cascade through TLR receptors that culminate in secretion of inflammatory cytokines. Detection of these cytokines can provide valuable clinical data for drug developers and disease investigations, but this usually requires a large sample volume and can be technically inefficient with traditional techniques such as flow cytometry, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, or luminex. This paper describes an approach whereby antibody arrays for capturing cells and secreted cytokines are encapsulated within a microfluidic device that can be reconfigured to operate in serial or parallel mode. In serial mode, the device represents one long channel that may be perfused with a small volume of minimally processed blood. Once monocytes are captured onto antibody spots imprinted into the floor of the device, the straight channel is reconfigured to form nine individually perfusable chambers. To prove this concept, the microfluidic platform was used to capture monocytes from minimally processed human blood in serial mode and then to stimulate monocytes with different TLR agonists in parallel mode. Three cytokines, tumor necrosis factor-α, interleukin (IL)-6, and IL-10, were detected using anti-cytokine antibody arrays integrated into each of the six chambers. We foresee further use of this device in applications such as pediatric immunology or drug/vaccine testing where it is important to balance small sample volume with the need for high information content.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biomedical Engineering
- Materials Science(all)
- Condensed Matter Physics
- Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes
- Colloid and Surface Chemistry