• Process optimization and biocompatibility of cell carriers suitable for automated magnetic manipulation.

      Krejci, I; Piana, C; Howitz, S; Wegener, T; Fiedler, S; Zwanzig, M; Schmitt, D; Daum, N; Meier, K; Lehr, C M; et al. (2012-03)
      There is increasing demand for automated cell reprogramming in the fields of cell biology, biotechnology and the biomedical sciences. Microfluidic-based platforms that provide unattended manipulation of adherent cells promise to be an appropriate basis for cell manipulation. In this study we developed a magnetically driven cell carrier to serve as a vehicle within an in vitro environment. To elucidate the impact of the carrier on cells, biocompatibility was estimated using the human adenocarcinoma cell line Caco-2. Besides evaluation of the quality of the magnetic carriers by field emission scanning electron microscopy, the rate of adherence, proliferation and differentiation of Caco-2 cells grown on the carriers was quantified. Moreover, the morphology of the cells was monitored by immunofluorescent staining. Early generations of the cell carrier suffered from release of cytotoxic nickel from the magnetic cushion. Biocompatibility was achieved by complete encapsulation of the nickel bulk within galvanic gold. The insulation process had to be developed stepwise and was controlled by parallel monitoring of the cell viability. The final carrier generation proved to be a proper support for cell manipulation, allowing proliferation of Caco-2 cells equal to that on glass or polystyrene as a reference for up to 10 days. Functional differentiation was enhanced by more than 30% compared with the reference. A flat, ferromagnetic and fully biocompatible carrier for cell manipulation was developed for application in microfluidic systems. Beyond that, this study offers advice for the development of magnetic cell carriers and the estimation of their biocompatibility.
    • Setup for investigating gold nanoparticle penetration through reconstructed skin and comparison to published human skin data.

      Labouta, Hagar I; Thude, Sibylle; Schneider, Marc; Helmholtz Center for Infection Research, Helmholtz Institute for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland, Saarbrücken, Germany. (2013-06)
      Owing to the limited source of human skin (HS) and the ethical restrictions of using animals in experiments, in vitro skin equivalents are a possible alternative for conducting particle penetration experiments. The conditions for conducting penetration experiments with model particles, 15-nm gold nanoparticles (AuNP), through nonsealed skin equivalents are described for the first time. These conditions include experimental setup, sterility conditions, effective applied dose determination, skin sectioning, and skin integrity check. Penetration at different exposure times (two and 24 h) and after tissue fixation (fixed versus unfixed skin) are examined to establish a benchmark in comparison to HS in an attempt to get similar results to HS experiments presented earlier. Multiphoton microscopy is used to detect gold luminescence in skin sections. λ(ex)=800 nm is used for excitation of AuNP and skin samples, allowing us to determine a relative index for particle penetration. Despite the observed overpredictability of penetration into skin equivalents, they could serve as a first fast screen for testing the behavior of nanoparticles and extrapolate their penetration behavior into HS. Further investigations are required to test a wide range of particles of different physicochemical properties to validate the skin equivalent-human skin particle penetration relationship.