Study your cell’s behavior in a 3D microenvironment


This device contains a set of molded microchannels, with variable dimensions, where cells can migrate within.


> Channel with a variable width along their length (mimicking natural constrictions)

> Customized shapes and dimensions

> Available on 35 mm Petri dishes

> Compatible with high-resolution optical microscopy systems

Material : PDMS

If this device does not meet your needs, we can personalize it for you

Microchannel principle


Cell migration, nuclear mechanics, extravasation ability, etc

Microchannels illustration

(Human CD8 T lymphocyte u a constriction microchannel) Image by Pablo Vargas (Institut Curie, UMR144)
and Fernando Sepulveda (Institut Imagine, UMR1163)

Cells migration

Jurkat cells passing through standard microchannels

Cell nucleus deformation

T cell passaging through 3 mm constrictions microchannels (1)



  • Formin-like 1 mediates effector T cell trafficking to inflammatory sites to enable T cell-mediated autoimmunity
    Thompson. S.B. et al., eLife 2020;9:e58046.
  • Mechanisms for fast cell migration in complex environments
    Vargas P, Piel M. et al., Curr Opin Cell Biol. 2017 Jun 19;48:72-78.
  • Study of dendritic cell migration using micro-fabrication.
    Vargas P, Lennon-Dumenil AM. Et al., J Immunol Methods. 2016 May;432:30-4.
  • ESCRT III repairs nuclear envelope ruptures during cell migration to limit DNA damage and cell death.
    Raab M, Piel M. et al., Science. 2016 Apr 15;352(6283):359-62.
  • Innate control of actin nucleation determines two distinct migration behaviours in dendritic cells.
    Vargas P, M, Lennon-Duménil AM. Et al., Nat Cell Biol. 2016 Jan;18(1):43-53. [Erratum in: Nat Cell Biol. 2016 Feb;18(2):234.]
  • Study of cell migration in microfabricated channels
    Vargas P, Piel M. et al., J Vis Exp. 2014 Feb 21;(84):e51099.
  • Cell migration in confinement: a micro-channel-based assay
    Heuzé ML, Piel M. et al., Methods Mol Biol. 2011;769:415-34.
  • Regulation of dendritic cell migration by CD74, the MHC class II-associated invariant chain.
    Faure-André G, Lennon-Duménil AM. Et al., Science. 2008 Dec 12;322(5908):1705-10.
  • Leukocyte migration and deformation in collagen gels and microfabricated constrictions.
    Vargas P., Saez P., Barbier L., Attia R., Thiam H., Piel M., in Cell Migration: methods and protocols, Methods in Molecular Biology 1749 edited by Alexis Gautreau, Laboratory of Biochemistry, Ecole Polytechnique, Palaiseau, France, 2018, pp. 368-369


  • What is 4DCell?
    4Dcell is a biotech company which provides solutions for cellular microenvironment control.Innovation in cell culture methods requires new tools to control the cell microenvironment, like microfluidics and micropatterning. Developing and spreading these technologies for research laboratories and industry is our ambition.
  • What are microchannels and how can I use them?
    Microchannels are microscopic channels engraved into PDMS chips. They allow you to study cell migration within microchannels of different shapes and sizes. You can adapt the features of the system depending on what conditions you want to impose on your cells.
  • What is the procedure to make the chip?
    The experimental procedure is detailed on the website, with a microchannels tutorial and a user guide explaining all the steps.

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  • What are the technical parameters of your microchannels?
    All the features of the standard microchannels are detailed on the website.Along with the standard features, you can ask for customized microchannels. Contact us and we will discuss your needs.
  • Are the microchannels open or are they more like tubing?
    The microchannels are closed, after molding, the chip has to be attached to a glass bottom petri dish to close the system.
  • Which material are you using?
    The elastomer is a standard bi-composant PDMS Sylgard 184, mixed at a weight ratio of 10:1 with the curing agent.
  • How many times can I use the molds?
    The molds can be used multiple times if handled gently and kept in proper clean conditions. In the microchannels kit, 4 molds are provided to allow you to make more than 100 chips.
  • In your video, how did you achieve the slow flow? I assume the video is in real-time.
    On the website video, there was no induced flow into the microchannels, this was spontaneous migration. It was a live-imaging video, and speed has been accelerated to obtain this result. (0.5 img/min)
  • Is it possible to induce a flow rate in your microchannels, with a perfusion system?
    Yes it is possible, you can control the flow rate thanks to the perfusion pack which has a flow controller, which can apply a flow rate ranging from 10nL/min to 5mL/min.
  • How can I clean the molds?
    The molds are quite fragile, they have to be handled gently. The best way to clean the molds is to mold PDMS in them and carefully remove the chip to remove any excess dust or PDMS residues. The molds are not chemically resistant, do not use solvents.
  • What lab equipment do I need to make microchannels chips?
    To make microchannels in your lab, you need to use a plasma cleaner to activate the surfaces before bonding. We also recommend the use of an oven (up to 80°C) and a desiccator but it is not necessary.
  • Can I get samples to test your system in my lab conditions?
    In order for you to first try the 4Dcell products, we provide affordable starter packs (with either 20 or 50 articles). Therefore, you can have a first impression and confirm your experimental needs before ordering the appropriate products.
  • How do I order and pay?
    When you have decided which products you want to order, you can send us an order form. We will send you an invoice so that you can pay by bank transfer or with a Paypal account.If you have a special request concerning the payment method, contact us and we will find an appropriate solution.
  • What is the delivery time?
    We send the products in a delay of one month from the day we receive the order form.
  • Where do you distribute your products?
    All 4Dcell products can be sent worldwide. 4Dcell works with a Chinese distributor for the Asian market.