Cell adhesion, morphology and metabolism variation via acoustic exposure within microfluidic cell handling systems

Citsabehsan Devendran, James Carthew, Jessica E. Frith, Adrian Neild

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41 Citations (Scopus)


Acoustic fields are capable of manipulating biological samples contained within the enclosed and highly controlled environment of a microfluidic chip in a versatile manner. The use of acoustic streaming to alter fluid flows and radiation forces to control cell locations has important clinical and life science applications. While there have been significant advances in the fundamental implementation of these acoustic mechanisms, there is a considerable lack of understanding of the associated biological effects on cells. Typically a single, simple viability assay is used to demonstrate a high proportion of living cells. However, the findings of this study demonstrate that acoustic exposure can inhibit cell attachment, decrease cell spreading, and most intriguingly increase cellular metabolic activity, all without any impact upon viability rates. This has important implications by showing that mortality studies alone are inadequate for the assessment of biocompatibility, but further demonstrates that physical manipulation of cells can also be used to influence their biological activity.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1902326
Number of pages12
JournalAdvanced Science
Issue number24
Publication statusPublished - 18 Dec 2019


  • acoustofluidics
  • cell handling
  • cell viability
  • microfluidics
  • surface acoustic waves

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