Biomimetic autoseparation of leukocytes from whole blood in a microfluidic device
Shevkoplyas, Sergey S.
Munn, Lance L.
Bitensky, Mark W.
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Leukocytes comprise less than 1% of all blood cells. Enrichment of their number, starting from a sample of whole blood, is the required first step of many clinical and basic research assays. We created a microfluidic device that takes advantage of the intrinsic features of blood flow in the microcirculation, such as plasma skimming and leukocyte margination, to separate leukocytes directly from whole blood. It consists of a simple network of rectangular microchannels designed to enhance lateral migration of leukocytes and their subsequent extraction from the erythrocyte-depleted region near the sidewalls. A single pass through the device produces a 34-fold enrichment of the leukocyte-to-erythrocyte ratio. It operates on microliter samples of whole blood, provides positive, continuous flow selection of leukocytes, and requires neither preliminary labeling of cells nor input of energy (except for a small pressure gradient to support the flow of blood). This effortless, efficient, and inexpensive technology can be used as a lab-on-a-chip component for initial whole blood sample preparation. Its integration into microanalytical devices that require leukocyte enrichment will enable accelerated transition of these devices into the field for point-of-care clinical testing.