Universal LIMS based platform for the automated processing of cell-based assays
Nowadays, cell-based assays are an elementary tool for diagnostics, animal-free substance testing and basic research. Depending on the application, the spectrum ranges from simple static cell cultures in microtiter plates to dynamic co-cultures in complex micro physiological systems (organ-on-a-chip). Depending on the complexity of the assay, numerous working steps have to be performed and the data from different analysis systems have to be processed, combined and documented. A universal platform has been developed for the automated handling of cell-based assays, which combines a laboratory information management system (LIMS) with a laboratory execution system (LES), a universal laboratory automation platform and established laboratory equipment. The LIMS handles the administration of all laboratory-relevant information, the planning, control and monitoring of laboratory processes, as well as the direct and qualified processing of raw data. Using a kidney-on-a-chip system as an example, the realization of complex cellbased assays for the animal-free characterization of the toxicity of different antibiotics will be demonstrated. In the kidney-on-a-chip system the artificial proximal tubular barrier was formed by seeding human immortalized proximal tubule cells (RPTEC) and human blood outgrowth endothelial cells (BOEC) on ThinCertTM membranes. Transepithelial electrical resistance (TEER) was measured daily to evaluate the barrier function of the cellular layers. Fluid handling and TEER measurements were performed using a laboratory automation platform that communicates directly with the LIMS. The LES supports laboratory assistants in executing the manual handling steps of the experiments.