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A microfluidic device (the HistoFlex) designed to perform and monitor molecular biological assays under dynamic flow conditions on microscope slide-substrates, with special emphasis on analyzing histological tissue sections, is presented. Microscope slides were reversibly sealed onto a cast polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) insert, patterned with distribution channels and reaction chambers. Topology optimization was used to design reaction chambers with uniform flow conditions. The HistoFlex provided uniform hybridization conditions, across the reaction chamber, as determined by hybridization to microscope slides of spotted DNA microarrays when applying probe concentrations generally used in in situ hybridization (ISH) assays. The HistoFlex's novel ability in online monitoring of an in situ hybridization assay was demonstrated using direct fluorescent detection of hybridization to 18S rRNA. Tissue sections were not visually damaged during assaying, which enabled adapting a complete ISH assay for detection of microRNAs (miRNA). The effects of flow based incubations on hybridization, antibody incubation and Tyramide Signal Amplification (TSA) steps were investigated upon adapting the ISH assay for performing in the HistoFlex. The hybridization step was significantly enhanced using flow based incubations due to improved hybridization efficiency. The HistoFlex device enabled a fast miRNA ISH assay (3 hours) which provided higher hybridization signal intensity compared to using conventional techniques (5 h 40 min). We further demonstrate that the improved hybridization efficiency using the HistoFlex permits more complex assays e. g. those comprising sequential hybridization and detection of two miRNAs to be performed with significantly increased sensitivity. The HistoFlex provides a new histological analysis platform that will allow multiple and sequential assays to be performed under their individual optimum assay conditions. Images can subsequently be recorded either in combination or sequentially through the ability of the HistoFlex to monitor assays without disassembly.
Original languageEnglish
JournalLab On a Chip
Publication date2011
Volume11
Issue22
Pages3896-3907
ISSN1473-0197
DOIs
StatePublished
CitationsWeb of Science® Times Cited: 4
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