A microfluidic wound-healing assay for quantifying endothelial cell migration

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A microfluidic wound-healing assay for quantifying endothelial cell migration. Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol 298: H719–H725, 2010. First published November 20, 2009; doi:10.1152/ajpheart.00933.2009.—Endothelial migration is an important process in the formation of blood vessels and the repair of damaged tissue. To study this process in the laboratory, versatile and reliable migration assays are essential. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether the microfluidic version of the conventional wound-healing assay is a useful research tool for vascular science. Endothelial cells were seeded in a 500-mwide microfluidic channel. After overnight incubation, cells had formed a viable and confluent monolayer. Then, a wound was generated in this monolayer by flushing the channel with three parallel fluid streams, of which the middle one contained the protease trypsin. By analyzing the closing of the wound over time, endothelial cell migration could be measured. Although the migration rate was two times lower in the microfluidic assay than in the conventional assay, an identical 1.5-times increase in migration rate was found in both assays when vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF165) was added. In the microfluidic wound-healing assay, a stable gradient of VEGF165 could be generated at the wound edge. This led to a two-times increase in migration rate compared with the untreated control. Finally, when a shear stress of 1.3 Pa was applied to the wound, the migration rate increased 1.8 times. In conclusion, the microfluidic assay is a solid alternative for the conventional wound-healing assay when endothelial cell migration is measured. Moreover, it offers unique advantages, such as gradient generation and application of shear stress.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)H719-H725
JournalAmerican journal of physiology : Heart and circulatory physiology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2010


  • migration
  • scratchassay
  • wound-healing assay
  • IR-74832
  • Micro-fluidics
  • Endothelial cell
  • METIS-274208
  • EWI-19439


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