bims-orenst Biomed News
on Organs-on-chips and engineered stem cell models
Issue of 2022‒04‒10
six papers selected by
Joram Mooiweer
University of Groningen

  1. Kidney360. 2022 Feb 24. 3(2): 217-231
      Background: Renal ischemia/reperfusion injury (rIRI) is one of the major causes of AKI. Although animal models are suitable for investigating systemic symptoms of AKI, they are limited in translatability. Human in vitro models are crucial in giving mechanistic insights into rIRI; however, they miss out on crucial aspects such as reperfusion injury and the multitissue aspect of AKI.Methods: We advanced the current renal proximal tubule-on-a-chip model to a coculture model with a perfused endothelial vessel separated by an extracellular matrix. The coculture was characterized for its three-dimensional structure, protein expression, and response to nephrotoxins. Then, rIRI was captured through control of oxygen levels, nutrient availability, and perfusion flow settings. Injury was quantified through morphologic assessment, caspase-3/7 activation, and cell viability.
    Results: The combination of low oxygen, reduced glucose, and interrupted flow was potent to disturb the proximal tubules. This effect was strongly amplified upon reperfusion. Endothelial vessels were less sensitive to the ischemia-reperfusion parameters. Adenosine treatment showed a protective effect on the disruption of the epithelium and on the caspase-3/7 activation.
    Conclusions: A human in vitro rIRI model was developed using a coculture of a proximal tubule and blood vessel on-a-chip, which was used to characterize the renoprotective effect of adenosine. The robustness of the model and assays in combination with the throughput of the platform make it ideal to advance pathophysiological research and enable the development of novel therapeutic modalities.
    Keywords:  AKI; AKI and ICU nephrology; basic science; coculture; in vitro; kidney-on-a-chip; prevention of renal ischemia damage; proximal tubule; renal ischemia
  2. Nano Converg. 2022 Apr 08. 9(1): 16
      Microfluidic organ-on-a-chip technologies have enabled construction of biomimetic physiologically and pathologically relevant models. This paper describes an injection molded microfluidic platform that utilizes a novel sequential edge-guided patterning method based on spontaneous capillary flow to realize three-dimensional co-culture models and form an array of micro-vascularized tissues (28 per 1 × 2-inch slide format). The MicroVascular Injection-Molded Plastic Array 3D Culture (MV-IMPACT) platform is fabricated by injection molding, resulting in devices that are reliable and easy to use. By patterning hydrogels containing human umbilical endothelial cells and fibroblasts in close proximity and allowing them to form vasculogenic networks, an array of perfusable vascularized micro-tissues can be formed in a highly efficient manner. The high-throughput generation of angiogenic sprouts was quantified and their uniformity was characterized. Due to its compact design (half the size of a 96-well microtiter plate), it requires small amount of reagents and cells per device. In addition, the device design is compatible with a high content imaging machine such as Yokogawa CQ-1. Furthermore, we demonstrated the potential of our platform for high-throughput phenotypic screening by testing the effect of DAPT, a chemical known to affect angiogenesis. The MV-IMPACT represent a significant improvement over our previous PDMS-based devices in terms of molding 3D co-culture conditions at much higher throughput with added reliability and robustness in obtaining vascular micro-tissues and will provide a platform for developing applications in drug screening and development.
    Keywords:  Angiogenesis; Microfluidics; Organ-on-a-chip; Sequential edge guided patterning; Vascularized micro tissue
  3. Nat Commun. 2022 Apr 08. 13(1): 1928
      Mechanical breathing motions have a fundamental function in lung development and disease, but little is known about how they contribute to host innate immunity. Here we use a human lung alveolus chip that experiences cyclic breathing-like deformations to investigate whether physical forces influence innate immune responses to viral infection. Influenza H3N2 infection of mechanically active chips induces a cascade of host responses including increased lung permeability, apoptosis, cell regeneration, cytokines production, and recruitment of circulating immune cells. Comparison with static chips reveals that breathing motions suppress viral replication by activating protective innate immune responses in epithelial and endothelial cells, which are mediated in part through activation of the mechanosensitive ion channel TRPV4 and signaling via receptor for advanced glycation end products (RAGE). RAGE inhibitors suppress cytokines induction, while TRPV4 inhibition attenuates both inflammation and viral burden, in infected chips with breathing motions. Therefore, TRPV4 and RAGE may serve as new targets for therapeutic intervention in patients infected with influenza and other potential pandemic viruses that cause life-threatening lung inflammation.
  4. Lab Chip. 2022 Apr 06.
      Organ-on-a-chip systems that recapitulate tissue-level functions have been proposed to improve in vitro-in vivo correlation in drug development. Significant progress has been made to control the cellular microenvironment with mechanical stimulation and fluid flow. However, it has been challenging to introduce complex 3D tissue structures due to the physical constraints of microfluidic channels or membranes in organ-on-a-chip systems. Inspired by 4D bioprinting, we develop a subtractive manufacturing technique where a flexible sacrificial material can be patterned on a 2D surface, swell and shape change when exposed to aqueous hydrogel, and subsequently degrade to produce perfusable networks in a natural hydrogel matrix that can be populated with cells. The technique is applied to fabricate organ-specific vascular networks, vascularized kidney proximal tubules, and terminal lung alveoli in a customized 384-well plate and then further scaled to a 24-well plate format to make a large vascular network, vascularized liver tissues, and for integration with ultrasound imaging. This biofabrication method eliminates the physical constraints in organ-on-a-chip systems to incorporate complex ready-to-perfuse tissue structures in an open-well design.
  5. Front Bioeng Biotechnol. 2022 ;10 826093
      Background: Drug-induced liver injury is one of the main reasons of withdrawals of drugs in postmarketing stages. However, an experimental model(s) which can accurately recapitulates liver functions and reflects the level of drug hepatotoxicity is lack. In this study, we assessed drug hepatotoxicity using a novel three-dimensional hepatic plate-like hydrogel fiber (3D-P) co-culture system. Methods: During the 28-days culture period, the liver-specific functions, hepatocyte polarity, sensitivity of drug-induced toxicity of 3D-P co-culture system were evaluated with 2D co-culture, collagen sandwich co-culture, 3D hybrid hydrogel fiber co-culture and human primary hepatocytes as controls. High-content imaging and analysis (HCA) methods were used to explore the hepatotoxicity mechanism of five statins. Results: The 3D-P co-culture system showed enhancing liver-specific functions, cytochrome P450 enzymes (CYPs) metabolic activity and bile excretion, which were considered to result from improved hepatocyte polarity. Three of the statins may cause acute or chronic hepatotoxicity by via different mechanisms, such as cholestatic liver injury. Conclusion: Our 3D-P co-culture system is characterized by its biomimetic hepatic plate-like structure, long-term stable liver specificity, and prominent bile secretion function, making it applicable for acute/chronic drug hepatotoxicity assessments.
    Keywords:  3D culture; drug-induced liver injury (DILI); hepatic plate; hydrogel; polarity; statins
  6. Stem Cell Reports. 2022 Apr 06. pii: S2213-6711(22)00140-0. [Epub ahead of print]
      NOTCH signaling is a key regulator involved in maintaining intestinal stem cell (ISC) homeostasis and for balancing differentiation. Using single-cell transcriptomics, we observed that OLFM4, a NOTCH target gene present in ISCs, is first expressed at 13 weeks post-conception in the developing human intestine and increases over time. This led us to hypothesize that the requirement for NOTCH signaling is acquired across human development. To test this, we established a series of epithelium-only organoids (enteroids) from different developmental stages and used γ-secretase inhibitors (dibenzazepine [DBZ] or DAPT) to functionally block NOTCH signaling. Using quantitative enteroid-forming assays, we observed a decrease in enteroid forming efficiency in response to γ-secretase inhibition as development progress. When DBZ was added to cultures and maintained during routine passaging, enteroids isolated from tissue before 20 weeks had higher recovery rates following single-cell serial passaging. Finally, bulk RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) analysis 1 day and 3 days after DBZ treatment showed major differences in the transcriptional changes between developing or adult enteroids. Collectively, these data suggest that ISC dependence on NOTCH signaling increases as the human intestine matures.
    Keywords:  NOTCH; enteroid; intestinal stem cell; intestine; organoid