Microfluidic single-cell analysis of intracellular compounds

Tzu Chiao Chao, Alexandra Ros

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

95 Scopus citations


Biological analyses traditionally probe cell ensembles in the range of 103-106 cells, thereby completely averaging over relevant individual cell responses, such as differences in cell proliferation, responses to external stimuli or disease onset. In past years, this fact has been realized and increasing interest has evolved for single-cell analytical methods, which could give exciting new insights into genomics, proteomics, transcriptomics and systems biology. Microfluidic or lab-on-a-chip devices are the method of choice for single-cell analytical tools as they allow the integration of a variety of necessary process steps involved in single-cell analysis, such as selection, navigation, positioning or lysis of single cells as well as separation and detection of cellular analytes. Along with this advantageous integration, microfluidic devices confine single cells in compartments near their intrinsic volume, thus minimizing dilution effects and increasing detection sensitivity. This review overviews the developments and achievements of microfluidic single-cell analysis of intracellular compounds in the past few years, from proof-of-principle devices to applications demonstrating a high biological relevance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S139-S150
JournalJournal of the Royal Society Interface
Issue numberSUPPL.2
StatePublished - 2008


  • Analysis
  • Destructive
  • Microfluidic
  • Non-destructive
  • Separation
  • Single cell

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biophysics
  • Bioengineering
  • Biomaterials
  • Biochemistry
  • Biomedical Engineering


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