DOI: 10.1111/bcpt.13940 ISSN:

Development and validation of an automated microfluidic perfusion platform for parallelized screening of compounds in vitro

Francesca R. Brugnoli, Marion Holy, Marco Niello, Julian Maier, Marcus Hanreich, Mario Menzel, Matthias Haberler, Niklas Zulus, Thomas Pickl, Christa Ivanova, Lisa D. Muiznieks, Benjamin Garlan, Harald H. Sitte
  • Pharmacology
  • Toxicology
  • General Medicine


Monoamine transporters are of great interest for their role in physiological activity of the body and their link to mental and behavioral disorders. Currently, static well‐plate assays or manual perfusion systems are used to characterize the interaction of psychostimulants, antidepressants and drugs of abuse with the transporters but still suffer from significant drawbacks caused by lack of automation, e.g., low reproducibility, non‐comparability of results. An automated microfluidic platform was developed to address the need for more standardized procedures for cell‐based assays. An automated system was used to control and drive the simultaneous perfusion of 12 channels on a microfluidic chip, establishing a more standardized protocol to perform release assays to study monoamine transporter‐mediated substrate efflux. D‐Amphetamine, GBR12909 (norepinephrine transporter) and p‐Chloroamphetamine, paroxetine (serotonin transporter) were used as control compounds to validate the system. The platform was able to produce the expected releasing (D‐Amphetamine, p‐Chloroamphetamine) or inhibiting (GBR12909, paroxetine) profiles for the two transporters. Reduction of manual operation and introduction of automated flow control enabled the implementation of stronger standardized protocols and the possibility to obtain higher throughput by increasing parallelization.

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