Passively Operated Microfluidic Device for Stimulation and Secretion Sampling of Single Pancreatic Islets Academic Article uri icon

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  • A passively operated polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) microfluidic device was designed for sampling of hormone secretions from eight individual murine pancreatic islets in parallel. Flow control was achieved using a single hand-held syringe and by exploiting inherent fluidic resistances of the microchannels (R(sampling) = 700 ± 20 kPa s mm(-3) at 37 °C). Basal (3 mM) or stimulatory (11 mM) glucose levels were applied to islets, with stimulation timing (t(stim)) minimized to 15 ± 2 s using modified reservoirs. Using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA) for postsampling analyses, we measured statistically equal levels of 1 h insulin secretion (1.26 ± 0.26 and 6.55 ± 1.00 pg islet(-1) min(-1), basal and stimulated; 62 islets) compared to standard, bulk sampling methods (1.01 ± 0.224 and 6.04 ± 1.53 pg islet(-1) min(-1), basal and stimulated; 200 islets). Importantly, the microfluidic platform revealed novel information on single-islet variability. Islet volume measurements with confocal reflectance microscopy revealed that insulin secretion had only limited correlation to islet volume, suggesting a more significant role for cellular architecture and paracrine signaling within the tissue. Compared to other methods using syringe pumps or electroosmotic flow control, this approach provides significant advantages in ease-of-use and device disposability, easing the burden on nonexperts.


  • Godwin, Leah A
  • Pilkerton, Meagan E
  • Deal, Kenneth
  • Wanders, Desiree
  • Judd, Robert L
  • Easley, Christopher J

publication date

  • September 15, 2011