Formation of embryoid bodies using dielectrophoresis

Sneha Agarwal, Anil Sebastian, Lesley M. Forrester, Gerard Markx

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)
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Embryoid body (EB) formation forms an important step in embryonic stem cell
differentiation in vivo. In murine embryonic stem cell (mESC) cultures EB formation
is inhibited by the inclusion of leukaemic inhibitory factor (LIF) in the medium.
Assembly of mESCs into aggregates by positive dielectrophoresis (DEP) in high
field regions between interdigitated oppositely castellated electrodes was found to initiate EB formation. Embryoid body formation in aggregates formed with DEP
occurred at a more rapid rate—in fact faster compared to conventional methods—in medium without LIF. However, EB formation also occurred in medium in which LIF was present when the cells were aggregated with DEP. The optimum characteristic size for the electrodes for EB formation with DEP was found to be 75–100 microns; aggregates smaller than this tended to merge, whilst aggregates larger than this tended to split to form multiple EBs. Experiments with ESCs in which green fluorescent protein (GFP) production was targeted to the mesodermal gene brachyury indicated that differentiation within embryoid bodies of this size may preferentially occur along the mesoderm lineage. As hematopoietic lineages during normal development derive from mesoderm, the finding points to a possible application of DEP formed EBs in the production of blood-based products from ESCs.
Original languageEnglish
Article number024101
Number of pages11
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 3 Apr 2012


  • Dielectrophoresis
  • Stem cells
  • embryoid bodies


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