A multicellular spheroid array to realize spheroid formation, culture, and viability assay on a chip

Yu suke Torisawa, Airi Takagi, Yuji Nashimoto, Tomoyuki Yasukawa, Hitoshi Shiku, Tomokazu Matsue

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

150 Citations (Scopus)


We describe a novel multicellular spheroid culture system that facilitates the easy preparation and culture of a spheroid microarray for the long-term monitoring of cellular activity. A spheroid culture device with an array of pyramid-like microholes was constructed in a silicon chip that was equipped with elastomeric microchannels. A cell suspension was introduced via the microfluidic channel into the microstructure that comprised silicon microholes and elastomeric microwells. A single spheroid can be formed and localized precisely within each microstructure. Since the culture medium could be replaced via the microchannels, a long-term culture (of ∼2 weeks) is available on the chip. Measurement of albumin production in the hepatoma cell line (HepG2) showed that the liver-specific functions were maintained for 2 weeks. Based on the cellular respiratory activity, the cellular viability of the spheroid array on the chip was evaluated using scanning electrochemical microscopy. Responses to four different chemical stimulations were simultaneously detected on the same chip, thus demonstrating that each channel could be evaluated independently under various stimulation conditions. Our spheroid culture system facilitated the understanding of spheroid formation, culture, and viability assay on a single chip, thus functioning as a useful drug-screening device for cancer and liver cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)559-566
Number of pages8
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2007 Jan


  • Biosensor
  • Cytotoxicity
  • Electrochemistry
  • Microfluidic device
  • Polydimethylsiloxane
  • Spheroids


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