Happy New Year! Our tissue closure-on-a-chip preprint is now out on bioRxiv! Check out the videos of cell monolayer closure!
There is a growing interest in bioelectric wound treatment and electrotaxis, the process by which cells detect an electric field and orient their migration along its direction, has emerged as a potential cornerstone of the endogenous wound healing response. Despite recognition of the importance of electrotaxis in wound healing, no experimental system to date demonstrates that the actual closing of a wound can be accelerated solely by the electrotaxis response itself, and in vivo systems are too complex to resolve cell migration from other healing stages such as proliferation and inflammation. This uncertainty has led to a lack of standardization between stimulation methods, model systems, and electrode technology required for device development. In this paper, we present a ‘healing-on-chip’ approach that is a standardized, low-cost, model for investigating electrically accelerated wound healing. Our device provides the first convergent field geometry used in a stimulation device. We validate this device by using electrical stimulation to close a 1.5 mm gap between two large (30 mm2) primary skin keratinocyte layers to double the rate of healing over an unstimulated tissue. This proves that convergent electrotaxis is both possible and can accelerate healing, and offers a new ‘healing-on-a-chip’ platform to explore future bioelectric interfaces.