Current Opinion in Pharmacology

Pharmacology on microfluidics: Multimodal analysis for studying cell-cell interaction

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Understanding the mechanisms of cell-cell interaction is a key unanswered question in modern pharmacology, given crosstalk defects are at the basis of many pathologies. Microfluidics represents a valuable tool for analyzing intercellular communication mediated by transmission of soluble signals, as occurring for example between neurons and glial cells in neuroinflammation, or between tumor and surrounding cells in cancer. However, the use of microfluidics for studying cell behavior still encompasses many technical and biological challenges. In this review, a state of the art of successes, potentials and limitations of microfluidics applied to key biological questions in modern pharmacology is analyzed and commented. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.