Microfluidic Electroporation for Cellular Analysis and Delivery
Electroporation is a simple yet powerful technique for breaching the cell membrane barrier. The applications of electroporation can be generally divided into two categories: the release of intracellular proteins, nucleic acids and other metabolites for analysis and the delivery of exogenous reagents such as genes, drugs and nanoparticles with therapeutic purposes or for cellular manipulation. In this review, we go over the basic physics associated with cell electroporation and highlight recent technological advances on microfluidic platforms for conducting electroporation. Within the context of its working mechanism, we summarize the accumulated knowledge on how the parameters of electroporation affect its performance for various tasks. We discuss various strategies and designs for conducting electroporation at the microscale and then focus on analysis of intracellular contents and delivery of exogenous agents as two major applications of the technique. Finally, an outlook for future applications of microfluidic electroporation in increasingly diverse utilities is presented.