Catch and release cell sorting: Electrochemical desorption of T-cells from antibody-modified microelectrodes

He Zhu, Jun Yan, Alexander Revzin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


The development of integrated microsystems capable of interrogation, characterization and sorting of mammalian cells is highly significant for further advancement of point-of-care diagnostics and drug discovery fields. The present study sought to design a novel strategy for releasing antibody-bound cells through electrochemical disruption of the underlying antibody (Ab) layer. A microsystem for selective capture and release of cells consisted of an array of individually addressable gold microelectrodes fabricated on a glass substrate. Poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) hydrogel photolithography was employed to make the glass regions non-fouling, thus, ensuring selective localization of proteins and cells on the microelectrodes. The gold surfaces were decorated with anti-CD4 Ab molecules using standard alkanethiol self-assembly and carbodiimide coupling approaches. The Ab-functionalized electrodes selectively captured model T-lymphocytes (Molt-3 cells) expressing CD4 antigen while minimal cell adhesion was observed on PEG hydrogel-modified glass substrates. Importantly, application of a reductive potential (-1.2 V vs. Ag/AgCl reference electrode) resulted in release of surface-bound T-cells from the electrode surface. Cyclic voltammetry and fluorescence microscopy were employed to verify that the detachment of captured T-cells was indeed due to the electrochemical disruption of the underlying alkanethiol-Ab layer. In the future, the cell sorting approach described here may be combined with microfluidic delivery to enable Ab-mediated capture of T-lymphocytes or other cell types followed by release of select cells for downstream gene expression studies or re-cultivation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)260-268
Number of pages9
JournalColloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 15 2008


  • Cell micropatterning
  • Cell sorting
  • Leukocyte immunophenotyping
  • Microelectrodes
  • Microfabrication
  • Switchable biointerface

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry


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