DOI: 10.3390/ijms241713419 ISSN:

A Microfluidic Experimental Method for Studying Cell-to-Cell Exosome Delivery–Taking Stem Cell–Tumor Cell Interaction as a Case

Xing Yue (Larry) Peng, Pengxiang Su, Yaxin Guo, Jing Zhang, Linghan Peng, Rongrong Zhang
  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Spectroscopy
  • Molecular Biology
  • General Medicine
  • Catalysis

Cell-to-cell communication must occur through molecular transport in the intercellular fluid space. Nanoparticles, such as exosomes, diffuse or move more slowly in fluids than small molecules. To find a microfluidic technology for real-time exosome experiments on intercellular communication between living cells, we use the microfluidic culture dish’s quaternary ultra-slow microcirculation flow field to accumulate nanoparticles in a specific area. Taking stem cell–tumor cell interaction as an example, the ultra-slow microcirculatory flow field controls stem cell exosomes to interfere with tumor cells remotely. Under static coculture conditions (without microfluidics), the tumor cells near stem cells (<200 µm) show quick breaking through from its Matrigel drop to meet stem cells, but this ‘breaking through’ quickly disappears with increasing distance. In programmed ultra-slow microcirculation, stem cells induce tumor cells 5000 μm far at the site of exosome deposition (according to nanoparticle simulations). After 14 days of programmed coculture, the glomeration and migration of tumor cells were observed in the exosome deposition area. This example shows that the ultra-slow microcirculation of the microfluidic culture dish has good prospects in quantitative experiments to study exosome communication between living cells and drug development of cancer metastasis.

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