Electrophoresis, Vol.40, No.6, 930-954, 2019
Recent advances in microfluidic cell sorting techniques based on both physical and biochemical principles
Microfluidic technologies for isolating cells of interest from a heterogeneous sample have attracted great attentions, due to the advantages of less sample consumption, simple operating procedure, and high separation accuracy. According to the working principles, the microfluidic cell sorting techniques can be categorized into biochemical (labeled) and physical (label-free) methods. However, the inherent drawbacks of each type of method may somehow influence the popularization of these cell sorting techniques. Using the multiple complementary isolation principles is a promising strategy to overcome this problem, therefore there appears to be a continuing trend to integrate two or more sorting methods together. In this review, we focus on the recent advances in microfluidic cell sorting techniques relied on both physical and biochemical principles, with emphasis on the mechanisms of cell separation. The biochemical cell sorting techniques enhanced by physical principles and the physical cell sorting techniques enhanced by biochemical principles, are first introduced. Then, we highlight on-chip magnetic-activated cell sorting, on-chip fluorescence-activated cell sorting, multi-step cell sorting and multi-principle cell sorting techniques, which are based on both physical and biochemical separation mechanisms. Finally, the challenges and future perspectives of the integrated microfluidics for cell sorting are discussed.