Single-cell RNA-seq of rheumatoid arthritis synovial tissue using low-cost microfluidic instrumentation Academic Article uri icon


MeSH Major

  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid
  • Self-Assessment
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Droplet-based single-cell RNA-seq has emerged as a powerful technique for massively parallel cellular profiling. While this approach offers the exciting promise to deconvolute cellular heterogeneity in diseased tissues, the lack of cost-effective and user-friendly instrumentation has hindered widespread adoption of droplet microfluidic techniques. To address this, we developed a 3D-printed, low-cost droplet microfluidic control instrument and deploy it in a clinical environment to perform single-cell transcriptome profiling of disaggregated synovial tissue from five rheumatoid arthritis patients. We sequence 20,387 single cells revealing 13 transcriptomically distinct clusters. These encompass an unsupervised draft atlas of the autoimmune infiltrate that contribute to disease biology. Additionally, we identify previously uncharacterized fibroblast subpopulations and discern their spatial location within the synovium. We envision that this instrument will have broad utility in both research and clinical settings, enabling low-cost and routine application of microfluidic techniques.

publication date

  • December 2018



  • Academic Article



  • eng

PubMed Central ID

  • PMC5824814

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1038/s41467-017-02659-x

PubMed ID

  • 29476078

Additional Document Info

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