Microfluidic methods provide a promising path to mimicking human organ function with applications ranging from fundamental biology to drug metabolism and toxicity. The vast majority of these systems use dissociated, immortalized, or stem cells to create two and three-dimensional models in vitro. While these systems can provide valuable information, they are fundamentally incapable of recreating the three-dimensional complexity of real tissue. As a result, an important gap exists between in vitro models and in vivo systems. To address this gap, we have begun combining microfluidic devices with ex vivo tissue slices or explants to recreate model systems that capture the cellular diversity of real tissue and bridge the gap between in vitro models and in vivo systems. In this presentation two systems will be discussed. The first uses a high-density electrode array equipped with microfluidic flow to image chemical release profiles from living adrenal slices. The second uses a 3D printed microfluidic device with removable inserts to hold and perfuse fluids over intestinal tissue, enabling generation of differential chemical conditions on either side of this important barrier tissue.
Charles Henry, Stuart Tobet, David Dandy, Tom Chen
Colorado State University