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We review the field of fluid-filled solid-core photonic bandgap fibers (SC-PBGF): we present the mechanisms and models of light guidance in these fibers, and how the guidance properties are sensitive to the refractive index of the infiltrated fluid. We discuss how this sensitivity can be used for creating tunable devices such as filters, delay lines and tunable non-linear pulse propagation experiments. We review refractive index sensors based on SC-PBGFs, including band edge sensing, SC-PBGF based long period grating sensing and new results on selectively filled SC-PBGFs which are the most sensitive microstructured fiber based sensors to date. We also discuss practical aspects of fluid filling.