We present a microfluidic device designed for maintenance and culture of nonadherent mammalian cells, which enables both recirculation and refreshing of medium, as well as easy harvesting of cells from the device. We demonstrate fabrication of a novel microfluidic device utilizing Braille perfusion for peristaltic fluid flow to enable switching between recirculation and refresh flow modes. Utilizing fluid flow simulations and the human promyelocytic leukemia cell line, HL-60, non-adherent cells, we demonstrate the utility of this RECIR-REFRESH device. With computer simulations, we profiled fluid flow and concentration gradients of autocrine factors and found that the geometry of the cell culture well plays a key role in cell entrapping and retaining autocrine and soluble factors. We subjected HL-60 cells, in the device, to a treatment regimen of 1.25% dimethylsulfoxide, every other day, to provoke differentiation and measured subsequent expression of CD11b on day 2 and day 4 and tumor necrosis factoralpha (TNF-α) on day 4. Our findings display perfusion sensitive CD11b expression, but not TNF-α build-up, by day 4 of culture, with a 1:1 ratio of recirculation to refresh flow yielding the greatest increase in CD11b levels. RECIR-REFRESH facilitates programmable levels of cell differentiation in a HL-60 non-adherent cell population and can be expanded to other types of non-adherent cells such as hematopoietic stem cells.
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