Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Adipose analysis on microfluidic chips

14.07.2016

Platform works with minute quantities of liquid to grow cells and study their development

A Freiburg-based research group has developed a microfluidic chip where more than one hundred apidose-derived adult stem cell cultures can grow and divide. In the human body, adipose tissue acts as a primary energy store.


Caption: The microfluidic chip (background) and adipose cells (close-up section view).

Source: Matthias Meier

Adult stem cells have the task of maintaining and regenerating this process. The researchers used the new lab-on-a-chip to study how adult stem cells in adipose tissue develop into mature fat cells, conducting their investigations outside the body. Previous experiments have enabled them to decode a signalling pathway involved in adipose cell maturation and to show that calories in the nutrient medium influence this process.

The team has published the results of its research in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). “Going forward, we want to investigate the environmental factors – particularly the nutrient conditions – that cause different adipose cell types to grow,” explains biophysicist Dr. Matthias Meier. “This will enable us to develop new approaches to combating obesity and diabetes.”

In contrast to embryonic stem cells, when adult stem cells divide, their offspring are only able to develop at the same site and in certain tissue types. Factors such as insulin and blood sugar levels also influence whether or not adult stem cells in adipose tissue will develop into mature adipose cell. Aberrations in this maturation process can lead to diabetes or obesity. The multitude of factors operating here make it very complicated, however, for scientists to investigate this process outside the body.

In order to overcome this problem, the Freiburg-based research group has developed a microfluidic chip that works with minute volumes of liquid: The platform uses microchannels to feed cell cultures with nutrients during their three-week growth period. A special feature of the set-up is an automatic protein analysis program integrated into the chip, which decodes signalling pathways during cell growth.

The new technology allows the researchers to vary the external cell factors such that the micro-environment on the chip resembles conditions within the body as closely as possible. This enabled adipose-derived adult stem cells to be successfully converted into mature fat cells within the experiments, and the corresponding signalling pathway mTORC1 was also decoded. “By increasing the calorie content in the nutrient medium, we were able to show that fat is stored more rapidly during maturation,” states Meier.

“However, it remains unclear whether adjusting the calorie levels in this way leads to an increased rate of adipose cell formation.” To answer this question, the research team now wants to systematically use the chip technology to study the association between human eating habits and the formation of fat cells.

Eight researchers were involved in the study: Matthias Blazek, Matthias Meier, Indranil Mitra, Alina Platen, Nils Schneider, Xuanye Wu and Prof. Dr. Roland Zengerle conduct research at the Department of Microsystems Engineering (IMTEK) and belong to the BIOSS Centre for Biological Signalling Studies Cluster of Excellence at the University of Freiburg. Prof. Dr. Roland Schüle is the Scientific Director of the Centre for Clinical Research at Freiburg University Hospital.

Original publication:
Xuanye Wu, Nils Schneider, Alina Platen, Indranil Mitra, Matthias Blazek, Roland Zengerle, Roland Schüle and Matthias Meier (2016). In situ characterization of the mTORC1 during adipogenesis of human adult stem cells on chip. PNAS Early Edition. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1601207113

Contact:
Dr. Matthias Meier
Institut für Mikrosystemtechnik
Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg
Phone: +49 (0)761 / 203 – 73241
E-Mail: matthias.meier@imtek.uni-freiburg.de

Weitere Informationen:

https://www.pr.uni-freiburg.de/pm/2016/pm.2016-07-13.104-en

Rudolf-Werner Dreier | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht A Map of the Cell’s Power Station
18.08.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

nachricht On the way to developing a new active ingredient against chronic infections
18.08.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für Infektionsforschung

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A Map of the Cell’s Power Station

18.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Engineering team images tiny quasicrystals as they form

18.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers printed graphene-like materials with inkjet

18.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>