There is increasing interest in using Xona’s microfluidic chambers in higher throughput configurations to increase sample size. These microfluidic chambers are extensively used for axon isolation, neuron co-culture, and organ-on-a-chip applications. This post describes and illustrates a simple method of using Xona’s RD series Silicone (PDMS) Devices together with glass bottom 12-well plates to increase throughput.

High-throughput experimentation is an experimentation process that is scaled up such that a greater number of samples can be processed in one run. Microtiter or micro-well plates are generally used for high-throughput screening projects. Equipment for automated fluid handling and microscopy has been standardized for these plates. 

Xona’s compartmentalized microfluidic chambers have become valuable for neuron culture due to their ability to compartmentalize neurons and neuron co-cultures, provide axon isolation, and create in vitro models of neurodegenerative diseases (such as ALS and Alzheimer’s disease). Dr. Anne Taylor, the Chief Scientific Officer of Xona Microfluidics, is the original inventor of these chambers, described in the high-impact journal Nature Methods

To increase throughput using Xona’s microfluidic chambers, we recommend our RD series of Silicone (PDMS) Devices as these devices are round and fit into selected 6- or 12-well glass bottom plates. All our RD devices are approximately 21 mm in diameter. For the highlighted image we used 12-well glass bottom plates (Cellvis) , which are optimized for high resolution imaging (e.g., confocal microscopy). The well size in these plates is 22 mm, sufficient enough to accommodate the RD device.

RD series Silicone (PDMS) Devices come in three different varieties. RD150 microfluidic chambers have a barrier between the two compartments that is 150 microns in width. These devices are useful for shorter term experiments where axon growth is needed to occur quickly. On the other end of the spectrum, RD900s have a barrier between the two compartments that is 900 microns. These microfluidic chambers are useful for studies requiring longer-term axonal isolation without shorter growing dendrites. RD450s have a barrier between the two compartment that is 450 microns and are our most popular size, representing a good compromise between the RD150s and RD900s.

For imaging, we used an ImageXpress high-content spinning disk confocal by Molecular Devices. Using this automated imaging system, it is easy to create montage images of each well rapidly as shown in the highlighted image. 

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