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Cellular Cargo Delivery: Toward Assisted Fertilization by Sperm-Carrying Micromotors

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posted on 13.01.2016 by Mariana Medina-Sánchez, Lukas Schwarz, Anne K. Meyer, Franziska Hebenstreit, Oliver G. Schmidt
We present artificially motorized sperm cellsa novel type of hybrid micromotor, where customized microhelices serve as motors for transporting sperm cells with motion deficiencies to help them carry out their natural function. Our results indicate that metal-coated polymer microhelices are suitable for this task due to potent, controllable, and nonharmful 3D motion behavior. We manage to capture, transport, and release single immotile live sperm cells in fluidic channels that allow mimicking physiological conditions. Important steps toward fertilization are addressed by employing proper means of sperm selection and oocyte culturing. Despite the fact that there still remain some challenges on the way to achieve successful fertilization with artificially motorized sperms, we believe that the potential of this novel approach toward assisted reproduction can be already put into perspective with the present work.

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