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A type of well-based assay that uses a laminated three-dimensional electrode design to characterise the effects of different drugs on red blood cells using dielectrophoresis is presented. The capability of the system to determine the effects of chemical agents on the electrophysiology of red blood cells is demonstrated using saponin and valinomycin as two examples of drugs that can penetrate the cell membrane and therefore change the dielectric properties of the cell. Light intensity changes are measured in the well over a period of time at various frequencies and the dielectric properties of the cells determined using an ellipsoidal multi-shell model. It is shown that the laminated electrode permits a high degree of automation and thus a high number of parallel experiments, which reduces both the time and effort needed to examine differences between populations of red blood cells. The technique is directly compatible with the industry-standard 1536 well-plate analysis technique.
Date of Publication: 5 Aug. 2005