To ensure the specificity of the antibody to COX-2 and N-cadherin, control UC-HMSCs were permeabilized, fixed, and incubated only with the secondary antibody (Alexa Fluor 594–conjugated goat polyclonal anti-rabbit IgG), as above. The absence of fluorescence signal indicated the specific staining for intracellular COX-2 and N-cadherin.

Next, to validate that the distribution of the fluorescence intensity was not related to any antibody diffusion limitation, the MBs were fixed and permeabilized, as above. For this assay, the MBs were not subjected to any blocking buffer. The cells were incubated for 90 min with the Alexa Fluor 594–conjugated goat polyclonal anti-rabbit IgG secondary antibody (A-11012, Life Technologies, Saint Aubin, France) diluted at 1:100 in 1% (v/v) FBS. Then, the cells were counterstained for DAPI, as above. Last, the MBs were collected from the chip, deposed on a glass slide, and imaged.

For the analysis of COX-2 expression by flow cytometry, the total MBs were recovered from the chip. The MBs were then trypsinized and triturated to obtain single-cell suspension. UC-HMSCs were stained for COX-2, as above. The percentage of COX-2–positive cells was quantified on 5 × 103 dissociated UC-HMSCs using a Guava easyCyte Flow Cytometer (Merck Millipore, Guyancourt, France). The results were compared to the fluorescence intensity distribution obtained by image analysis.

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