Improving single-cell encapsulation efficiency and reliability through neutral buoyancy of suspension

Hangrui Liu, Ming Li, Yan Wang, Jim Piper*, Lianmei Jiang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)
18 Downloads (Pure)


Single-cell analysis is of critical importance in revealing cell-to-cell heterogeneity by characterizing individual cells and identifying minority sub-populations of interest. Droplet-based microfluidics has been widely used in the past decade to achieve high-throughput single-cell analysis. However, to maximize the proportion of single-cell emulsification is challenging due to cell sedimentation and aggregation. The purpose of this study was to investigate the influence of single-cell encapsulation and incubation through the use of neutral buoyancy. As a proof of concept, OptiPrep was used to create neutrally buoyant cell suspensions of THP-1, a human monocytic leukemia cell line, for single-cell encapsulation and incubation. We found that using a neutrally buoyant suspension greatly increased the efficiency of single-cell encapsulation in microdroplets and eliminated unnecessary cell loss. Moreover, the presence of OptiPrep was shown to not affect cellular viability. This method significantly improved the effectiveness of single-cell study in a non-toxic environment and is expected to broadly facilitate single-cell analysis.

Original languageEnglish
Article number94
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2020

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • Droplet microfluidics
  • Encapsulation efficiency
  • Neutral buoyancy
  • OptiPrep
  • Single-cell analysis


Dive into the research topics of 'Improving single-cell encapsulation efficiency and reliability through neutral buoyancy of suspension'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this