Transistor in a tube: A route to three-dimensional bioelectronics

C. Pitsalidis*, M. P. Ferro, D. Iandolo, L. Tzounis, S. Inal, R. M. Owens

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Scopus citations


Advances in three-dimensional (3D) cell culture materials and techniques, which more accurately mimic in vivo systems to study biological phenomena, have fostered the development of organ and tissue models. While sophisticated 3D tissues can be generated, technology that can accurately assess the functionality of these complex models in a high-throughput and dynamic manner is not well adapted. Here, we present an organic bioelectronic device based on a conducting polymer scaffold integrated into an electrochemical transistor configuration. This platform supports the dual purpose of enabling 3D cell culture growth and real-time monitoring of the adhesion and growth of cells. We have adapted our system to a 3D tubular geometry facilitating free flow of nutrients, given its relevance in a variety of biological tissues (e.g., vascular, gastrointestinal, and kidney) and processes (e.g., blood flow). This biomimetic transistor in a tube does not require photolithography methods for preparation, allowing facile adaptation to the purpose. We demonstrate that epithelial and fibroblast cells grow readily and form tissue-like architectures within the conducting polymer scaffold that constitutes the channel of the transistor. The process of tissue formation inside the conducting polymer channel gradually modulates the transistor characteristics. Correlating the real-time changes in the steady-state characteristics of the transistor with the growth of the cultured tissue, we extract valuable insights regarding the transients of tissue formation. Our biomimetic platform enabling label-free, dynamic, and in situ measurements illustrates the potential for real-time monitoring of 3D cell culture and compatibility for use in long-term organ-on-chip platforms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbereaat4253
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 26 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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