Evaluation of the effects of solvents used in the fabrication of microfluidic devices on cell cultures

Xiaopeng Wen, Seiichiro Takahashi, Kenji Hatakeyama, Ken Ichiro Kamei

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Microfluidic microphysiological systems (MPSs) or “organs-on-a-chip” are a promising alternative to animal models for drug screening and toxicology tests. However, most microfluidic devices employ polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) as the structural material; and this has several drawbacks. Cyclo-olefin polymers (COPs) are more advantageous than PDMS and other thermoplastic materials because of their low drug absorption and autofluorescence. However, most COP-based microfluidic devices are fabricated by solvent bonding of the constituent parts. Notably, the remnant solvent can affect the cultured cells. This study employed a photobonding process with vacuum ultraviolet (VUV) light to fabricate microfluidic devices without using any solvent and compared their performance with that of solvent-bonded systems (using cyclohexane, dichloromethane, or toluene as the solvent) to investigate the effects of residual solvent on cell cultures. Quantitative immunofluorescence assays indicated that the coating efficiencies of extracellular matrix proteins (e.g., Matrigel and collagen I) were lower in solvent-bonded COP devices than those in VUV-bonded devices. Furthermore, the cytotoxicity of the systems was evaluated using SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cells, and increased apoptosis was observed in the solvent-processed devices. These results provide insights into the effects of solvents used during the fabrication of microfluidic devices and can help prevent undesirable reactions and establish good manufacturing practices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number550
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2021


  • Cytotoxicity
  • Microfluidic device
  • Microphysiological systems
  • Organs-on-a-chip
  • Photobonding
  • Solvent bonding
  • Vacuum ultraviolet

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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