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Recherche - Valorisation

A biomimetic microfluidic chip to study the circulation and mechanical retention of red blood cells in the spleen

Picot, J., Alioune Ndour, P., Lefevre, S. D., El Nemer, W., Tawfik, H., Galimand, J., Da Costa, L., Ribeil, J-A., de Montalembert, M., Brousse, V., Le Pioufle, B., Buffet, P., Le Van Kim, C.& Français, O. (2015). American Journal of Hematology.

In Red Blood Cell (RBC) disorders, blockade of small vessels by stiff RBCs can trigger organ damage, but a functional spleen is expected to clear these abnormal RBCs from the circulation. We designed a PDMS microfluidic chip that replicates the mechanical constraints imposed on RBCs as they cross the human spleen. Within the device, RBCs flew either slowly through 5 to 2 m wide slits or rapidly along 10 m-wide channels, Stage-dependent retention of Plasmodium falciparum-infected RBCs was observed in these slits. We also analyzed RBCs from patients with hereditary spherocytosis and observed retention for those having the most altered mechanical properties as determined by ektacytometry. The chip successfully discriminated poorly deformable RBCs based on their distinct mechanical properties and on the intensity of the cell alteration. Applications to the exploration of the pathogenesis of malaria, hereditary spherocytosis, sickle cell disease and other RBC disorders are envisioned.