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This paper describes a new label-free cell separation method using a magnetic repulsion force resulting from the magnetic susceptibility difference between cells and a paramagnetic buffer solution in a microchannel. The difference in the magnetic forces acting on different-sized cells is enhanced by adjusting the magnetic susceptibility of the surrounding medium, which depends on the concentration of paramagnetic salts, such as biocompatible gadolinium diethylenetriamine pentaacetic acid (Gd-DTPA), dissolved therein. As a proof-of-concept demonstration, Gd-DTPA solutions at concentrations of 0-80 mM were applied to separate U937 cells from red blood cells (RBCs) and to distinguish two different-sized polystyrene (PS) beads (8 and 10 μm in diameter). By increasing the Gd-DTPA concentration from 0 to 40 mM, the separation resolution of PS beads was increased from 0.08 to 0.91. Additionally, we successfully achieved label-free separation of U937 cells from RBCs with >90% purity and 1 × 10(5) cells/h throughput using a 40 mM Gd-DTPA solution.


Fengshan Shen, Hyundoo Hwang, Young Ki Hahn, Je-Kyun Park. Label-free cell separation using a tunable magnetophoretic repulsion force. Analytical chemistry. 2012 Apr 3;84(7):3075-81

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PMID: 22380761

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