A modular microfluidic platform to enable complex and customisable in vitro models for neuroscience

Megarity, D. and Vroman, R. and Kriek, M. and Downey, P. and Bushell, T. J. and Zagnoni, M. (2022) A modular microfluidic platform to enable complex and customisable in vitro models for neuroscience. Lab on a Chip, 22 (10). pp. 1989-2000. ISSN 1473-0197 (https://doi.org/10.1039/D2LC00115B)

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Disorders of the central nervous system (CNS) represent a global health challenge and an increased understanding of the CNS in both physiological and pathophysiological states is essential to tackle the problem. Modelling CNS conditions is difficult, as traditional in vitro models fail to recapitulate precise microenvironments and animal models of complex disease often have limited translational validity. Microfluidic and organ-on-chip technologies offer an opportunity to develop more physiologically relevant and complex in vitro models of the CNS. They can be developed to allow precise cellular patterning and enhanced experimental capabilities to study neuronal function and dysfunction. To improve ease-of-use of the technology and create new opportunities for novel in vitro studies, we introduce a modular platform consisting of multiple, individual microfluidic units that can be combined in several configurations to create bespoke culture environments. Here, we report proof-of-concept experiments creating complex in vitro models and performing functional analysis of neuronal activity across modular interfaces. This platform technology presents an opportunity to increase our understanding of CNS disease mechanisms and ultimately aid the development of novel therapies.


Megarity, D., Vroman, R. ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9347-3442, Kriek, M., Downey, P., Bushell, T. J. ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4145-9670 and Zagnoni, M. ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-3198-9491;