OMEF biochip for evaluating red blood cell deformability using dielectrophoresis as a diagnostic tool for type 2 diabetes mellitus

Dima Samer Ali, Samuel O. Sofela, Muhammedin Deliorman, Pavithra Sukumar, Ma Sum Abdulhamid, Sherifa Yakubu, Ciara Rooney, Ryan Garrod, Anoop Menachery, Rabih Hijazi, Hussein Saadi, Mohammad A. Qasaimeh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) is a prevalent and debilitating disease with numerous health risks, including cardiovascular diseases, kidney dysfunction, and nerve damage. One important aspect of T2DM is its association with the abnormal morphology of red blood cells (RBCs), which leads to increased blood viscosity and impaired blood flow. Therefore, evaluating the mechanical properties of RBCs is crucial for understanding the role of T2DM in cellular deformability. This provides valuable insights into disease progression and potential diagnostic applications. In this study, we developed an open micro-electro-fluidic (OMEF) biochip technology based on dielectrophoresis (DEP) to assess the deformability of RBCs in T2DM. The biochip facilitates high-throughput single-cell RBC stretching experiments, enabling quantitative measurements of the cell size, strain, stretch factor, and post-stretching relaxation time. Our results confirm the significant impact of T2DM on the deformability of RBCs. Compared to their healthy counterparts, diabetic RBCs exhibit ∼27% increased size and ∼29% reduced stretch factor, suggesting potential biomarkers for monitoring T2DM. The observed dynamic behaviors emphasize the contrast between the mechanical characteristics, where healthy RBCs demonstrate notable elasticity and diabetic RBCs exhibit plastic behavior. These differences highlight the significance of mechanical characteristics in understanding the implications for RBCs in T2DM. With its ∼90% sensitivity and rapid readout (ultimately within a few minutes), the OMEF biochip holds potential as an effective point-of-care diagnostic tool for evaluating the deformability of RBCs in individuals with T2DM and tracking disease progression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2906-2919
Number of pages14
JournalLab on a Chip
Issue number11
StatePublished - May 9 2024

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Biochemistry
  • General Chemistry
  • Biomedical Engineering


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