Microfluidic enrichment of mouse epidermal stem cells and validation of stem cell proliferation in vitro

Beili Zhu, James Smith, Martin L. Yarmush, Yaakov Nahmias, Brian J. Kirby, Shashi K. Murthy*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Bulge stem cells reside in the lowest permanent portion of hair follicles and are responsible for the renewal of these follicles along with the repair of the epidermis during wound healing. These cells are identified by surface expression of CD34 and the α6-integrin. When CD34 and α6 double-positive cells are isolated and implanted into murine skin, they give rise to epidermis and hair follicle structures. The current gold standard for isolation of these stem cells is fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS) based on cell surface markers. Here, we describe an alternative method for CD34 bulge stem cell isolation: a microfluidic platform that captures stem cells based on cell surface markers. This method is relatively fast, requiring 30 min of time from direct introduction of murine skin tissue digestate into a two-stage microfluidic device to one-pass elution of CD34+ enriched cells with a purity of 55.8%±5.1%. The recovered cells remain viable and formed colonies with characteristic morphologies. When grown in culture, enriched cells contain a larger α6+ population than un-enriched cells.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)765-773
Number of pages9
JournalTissue Engineering - Part C: Methods
Issue number10
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2013
Externally publishedYes


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