Constructing a Three-Dimensional Endothelial Cell Layer in a Circular PDMS Microchannel

  • Choi, Jong Seob (Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, KAIST) ;
  • Piao, Yunxian (Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, KAIST) ;
  • Kim, Kyung Hoon (Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, KAIST) ;
  • Seo, Tae Seok (Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, KAIST)
  • Published : 2013.08.21


We described a simple and efficient fabrication method for generating microfluidic channels with a circular-cross sectional geometry by exploiting the reflow phenomenon of a thick positive photoresist. Initial rectangular shaped positive photoresist micropatterns on a silicon wafer, which were fabricated by a conventional photolithography process, were converted into a half-circular shape by tuning the temperature to around $105^{\circ}C$. Through optimization of the reflow conditions, we could obtain a perfect circular micropattern of the positive photoresist, and control the diameter in a range from 100 to 400 ${\mu}m$. The resultant convex half-circular photoresist was used as a template for fabricating a concave polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) through a replica molding process, and a circular PDMS microchannel was produced by bonding two half-circular PDMS layers. A variety of channel dimensions and patterns can be easily prepared, including straight, S-curve, X-, Y-, and T-shapes to mimic an in vivo vascular network. To inform an endothelial cell layer, we cultured primary human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) inside circular PDMS microchannels, and demonstrated successful cell adhesion, proliferation, and alignment along the channel.