Reactive oxygen species (ROS) are known to be a key factor in the development of cancer, and many exogenous sources are supposed to be related to the formation of ROS. In this paper, a microfluidic chip was developed for studying the production of ROS in lung cancer cells under different chemical and physical stimuli. This chip has two unique features: (1) five relative concentrations of 0, 1/8, 1/2, 7/8, and 1 are achieved in the culture regions; (2) a shear stress gradient is produced inside each of the five culture areas. Lung cancer cells were seeded inside this biocompatible chip for investigating their response to different concentrations of H2O2, a chemical stimulus known to increase the production of ROS. Then the effect of shear stress, a physical stimulus, on lung cancer cells was examined, showing that the production of ROS was increased in response to a larger shear stress. Finally, two antioxidants, α-tocopherol and ferulic acid, were used to study their effects on reducing ROS. It was found that high-dose α-tocopherol was not able to effectively eliminate the ROS produced inside cells. This counter effect was not observed in cells cultured in a traditional chamber slide, where no shear stress was present. This result suggests that the current microfluidic chip provides an in vitro platform best mimicking the physiological condition where cells are under circulating conditions.

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