Sickling of red blood cells in microfluidic droplets

Abstract : Red blood cell sickling associated with sickle cell disease is affected by a complex interplay of vascular components and conditions which are not yet fully understood. A primary trigger of sickling is low oxygen partial pressure. Therefore, we have developed a microfluidic device to rapidly vary the oxygen partial pressure within flowing microdroplets. By using a carrier oil at a known oxygen partial pressure, a microdroplet was subjected to a deoxygenation at a rate that depends on both flow conditions and droplet size. The oxygen concentration in a single droplet was characterized with a ruthenium compound whose fluorescence lifetime is proportional to the oxygen concentration. The device was shown to provoke sickling of individual red blood cells which was readily detected by birefringence. The versatility of the same device was also demonstrated by initiating a chemical reaction in a microdroplet using a gaseous reactant.
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Paul Abbyad, Charles N. Baroud, Jean-Louis Martin, Pierre-Louis Tharaux, Antigoni Alexandrou. Sickling of red blood cells in microfluidic droplets. 239th ACS National Meeting, Mar 2010, San Francisco, United States. ⟨hal-01025985⟩

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