Cell Migration in Microfluidic Devices: Invadosomes Formation in Confined Environments

  • Pei-Yin Chi
  • Pirjo Spuul
  • Fan-Gang Tseng
  • Elisabeth GenotEmail author
  • Chia-Fu ChouEmail author
  • Alessandro Taloni
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 1146)


The last 20 years have seen the blooming of microfluidics technologies applied to biological sciences. Microfluidics provides effective tools for biological analysis, allowing the experimentalists to extend their playground to single cells and single molecules, with high throughput and resolution which were inconceivable few decades ago. In particular, microfluidic devices are profoundly changing the conventional way of studying the cell motility and cell migratory dynamics. In this chapter we will furnish a comprehensive view of the advancements made in the research domain of confinement-induced cell migration, thanks to the use of microfluidic devices. The chapter is subdivided in three parts. Each section will be addressing one of the fundamental questions that the microfluidic technology is contributing to unravel: (i) where cell migration takes place, (ii) why cells migrate and, (iii) how the cells migrate. The first introductory part is devoted to a thumbnail, and partially historical, description of microfluidics and its impact in biological sciences. Stress will be put on two aspects of the devices fabrication process, which are crucial for biological applications: materials used and coating methods. The second paragraph concerns the cell migration induced by environmental cues: chemical, leading to chemotaxis, mechanical, at the basis of mechanotaxis, and electrical, which induces electrotaxis. Each of them will be addressed separately, highlighting the fundamental role of microfluidics in providing the well-controlled experimental conditions where cell migration can be induced, investigated and ultimately understood. The third part of the chapter is entirely dedicated to how the cells move in confined environments. Invadosomes (the joint name for podosomes and invadopodia) are cell protrusion that contribute actively to cell migration or invasion. The formation of invadosomes under confinement is a research topic that only recently has caught the attention of the scientific community: microfluidic design is helping shaping the future direction of this emerging field of research.


Microfluidics Coating Cell migration Chemotaxis Mechanotaxis Haptotaxis Durotaxis Plithotaxis Electrotaxis Invadosomes Podosomes Invadopodia Confinement Microenvironment 



This work was supported in part by the AS Thematic Projects [AS-106-TP-A03] and the Ministry of Science and Technology (ROC) [105-2112-M-001-021-MY3, 106-2627-M-001-001, and 106-2119-M-001-005]. A.T. acknowledges the European Research Council through the Advanced Grant No.291002 SIZEFFECTS. P.S. acknowledges the support of TalTech Young Investigator grant B61, Estonian Research Council Starting Grant PUT1130 and G.F.Parrot Travel Grant. E.G. laboratory ( is funded by INSERM, the Ligue contre le Cancer, committee of the Gironde, the University of Bordeaux (transversal project HYPOXCELL) and the “Marfans” Association. The Invadosome Consortium is an international network of laboratories interested in adhesion structures involved in invasive processes. It is open to the entire scientific community ( We thank Chia-Tzi Kuo for the help in drawing Fig. 6.3. Confocal images of Fig. 6.1 were performed in part through the use of the advanced optical microscopes at Division of Instrument Service of Academia Sinica and with the assistance of Shu-Chen Shen.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pei-Yin Chi
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Pirjo Spuul
    • 4
  • Fan-Gang Tseng
    • 1
    • 5
    • 6
  • Elisabeth Genot
    • 7
    Email author
  • Chia-Fu Chou
    • 3
    • 6
    • 8
    Email author
  • Alessandro Taloni
    • 9
  1. 1.Department of Engineering and System ScienceNational Tsing Hua UniversityHsinchuRepublic of China
  2. 2.Nano Science and Technology Program, Taiwan International Graduate ProgramAcademia SinicaTaipeiRepublic of China
  3. 3.Institute of PhysicsAcademia SinicaTaipeiRepublic of China
  4. 4.Department of Chemistry and Biotechnology, Division of Gene TechnologyTallinn University of TechnologyTallinnEstonia
  5. 5.Frontier Research Center on Fundamental and Applied Sciences of MattersNational Tsing Hua UniversityHsinchuRepublic of China
  6. 6.Research Center for Applied SciencesAcademia SinicaTaipeiRepublic of China
  7. 7.Centre de Recherche Cardio-Thoracique de Bordeaux (INSERM U1045)Université de BordeauxBordeauxFrance
  8. 8.Genomics Research Center and Research Center for Applied SciencesAcademia SinicaTaipeiRepublic of China
  9. 9.Institute for Complex SystemsConsiglio Nazionale delle RicercheRomaItaly

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