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Microfabrication of High-Resolution Porous Membranes for Cell Culture.

ABSTRACT: Microporous membranes are widely utilized in cell biology to study cell-cell signaling and cell migration. However, the thickness and low porosity of commercial track-etched membranes limit the quality of cell imaging and the degree of cell-cell contact that can be achieved on such devices. We employ photolithography-based microfabrication to achieve porous membranes with pore diameter as small as 0.9 ?m, up to 40% porosity, and less than 5% variation in pore size. Through the use of a soap release layer, membranes as thin as 1 ?m can be achieved. The thin membranes minimally disrupt contrast enhancement optics, thus allowing good quality imaging of unlabeled cells under white light, unlike commercial membranes. In addition, the polymer membrane materials display low autofluorescence even after patterning, facilitating high quality fluorescence microscopy. Finally, confocal imaging suggests that substantial cell-cell contact is possible through the pores of these thin membranes. This membrane technology can enhance existing uses of porous membranes in cell biology as well as enable new types of experiments.


PROVIDER: S-EPMC3931465 | BioStudies | 2014-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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