Organ-on-a-chip systems are miniaturized, microfluidic 3D devices designed to model the physiological environment of organs. While the devices hold potential for use in drug screening, challenges remain in integrating monitoring systems needed to study an organ’s response to drug effects.
Researchers developed an automated modular design platform that operates a multiorgan-on-a-chip system capable of continually monitoring various biochemical and biophysical parameters in a dual-organoid setup that models the human liver and heart.
The system incorporates a microfluidic breadboard to control the routing of fluids, and uses physical biosensors to monitor the extracellular environment and electrochemical biosensors to measure biomarkers. Furthermore, miniature microscopes attached to the organoid modules help observe organoid morphology.
To test the multiorgan-on-a-chip system, the authors used cultured human cells to generate healthy liver and heart as well as cancerous liver and heart organoids, which were exposed to acetaminophen or the chemotherapeutic drug, doxorubicin, respectively.
In addition to providing measurements on acidity, temperature, and oxygen levels, the system allowed for long-term monitoring of drug-induced toxicity in healthy organoids for up to 5 days and cancerous organoids for up to 24 hours.
According to the authors, the technology might provide a platform to improve the performance of current organ-on-a-chip models.