Dielectrophoresis (DEP) offers many advantages over conventional cell assays such as flow cytometry and patch clamp techniques for assessing cell electrophysiology as a marker for cancer studies and drug interaction assessment. However, despite the advantages offered by DEP analysis, uptake has been low, remaining largely in the academic arena, due to the process of analysis being time-consuming, laborious, and ultimately allowing only serial analysis on small numbers of cells. In this paper we describe a new method of performing DEP analysis based on laminate manufacturing methods. These use a three-dimensional “well” structure, similar in size and pitch to conventional microtiter well plates, but offer electrodes along the inner surface to allow easy measurement of cell properties through the whole population. The result can then be determined rapidly using a conventional well-plate reader. The nature of the device means that many electrodes, each containing a separate sample, can be tested in parallel, while the mode of observation means that analysis can be combined with simultaneous measurement of conventional fluorimetric well-based assays. Here we benchmark the device against standard DEP assays, then show how such a device can be used to (a) rapidly determine the effects both of ion channel blockers on cancer cells and antibiotics on bacteria and (b) determine the properties of multiple subpopulations of cells within a well simultaneously.
Hoettges, K. F., Hubner, Y., Broche, L., Ogin, S. L., Kass, G. E. N., & Hughes, M. P. (2008). Dielectrophoresis-activated multiwell plate for label-free high-throughput drug assessment. Analytical Chemistry, 80(6), 2063-2068. https://doi.org/10.1021/ac702083g