The potential of autofluorescence for the detection of single living cells for label-free cell sorting in microfluidic systems

Jurjen Emmelkamp, F. Wolbers, Helene Andersson, Ralph S. DaCosta, Brian C. Wilson, I. Vermes, Albert van den Berg

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    41 Citations (Scopus)


    A novel method for studying unlabeled living mammalian cells based on their autofluorescence (AF) signal in a prototype microfluidic device is presented. When combined, cellular AF detection and microfluidic devices have the potential to facilitate high-throughput analysis of different cell populations. To demonstrate this, unlabeled cultured cells in microfluidic devices were excited with a 488 nm excitation light and the AF emission (> 505 nm) was detected using a confocal fluorescence microscope (CFM). For example, a simple microfluidic three-port glass microstructure was used together with conventional electroosmotic flow (EOF) to switch the direction of the fluid flow. As a means to test the potential of AF-based cell sorting in this microfluidic device, granulocytes were successfully differentiated from human red blood cells (RBCs) based on differences in AF. This study demonstrated the use of a simple microfabricated device to perform high-throughput live cell detection and differentiation without the need for cell-specific fluorescent labeling dyes and thereby reducing the sample preparation time. Hence, the combined use of microfluidic devices and cell AF may have many applications in single-cell analysis.
    Original languageUndefined
    Pages (from-to)3740-3745
    Number of pages6
    Issue number21-22
    Publication statusPublished - 2004


    • Miniaturization
    • METIS-219625
    • IR-48307
    • Red blood cell
    • Microfluidic
    • Single cell analysis
    • Autofluorescence

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