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Rapid Prototyping of Multilayer Microphysiological Systems

ChE Assistant Professor Ryan Koppes, Assistant Professor Abigail Koppes, and PhD students were published in ACS Biomaterials Science & Engineering for their research on “Rapid Prototyping of Multilayer Microphysiological Systems”.


Abstract Source: ACS

Microfluidic organs-on-chips aim to realize more biorelevant in vitro experiments compared to traditional two-dimensional (2D) static cell culture. Often such devices are fabricated via poly(dimethylsiloxane) (PDMS) soft lithography, which offers benefits (e.g., high feature resolution) along with drawbacks (e.g., prototyping time/costs). Here, we report benchtop fabrication of multilayer, PDMS-free, thermoplastic organs-on-chips via laser cut and assembly with double-sided adhesives that overcome some limitations of traditional PDMS lithography. Cut and assembled chips are economical to prototype ($2 per chip), can be fabricated in parallel within hours, and are Luer compatible. Biocompatibility was demonstrated with epithelial line Caco-2 cells and primary human small intestinal organoids. Comparable to control static Transwell cultures, Caco-2 and organoids cultured on chips formed confluent monolayers expressing tight junctions with low permeability. Caco-2 cells-on-chip differentiated ∼4 times faster, including increased mucus, compared to controls. To demonstrate the robustness of cut and assemble, we fabricated a dual membrane, trilayer chip integrating 2D and 3D compartments with accessible apical and basolateral flow chambers. As proof of concept, we cocultured a human, differentiated monolayer and intact 3D organoids within multilayered contacting compartments. The epithelium exhibited 3D tissue structure and organoids expanded close to the adjacent monolayer, retaining proliferative stem cells over 10 days. Taken together, cut and assemble offers the capability to rapidly and economically manufacture microfluidic devices, thereby presenting a compelling fabrication technique for developing organs-on-chips of various geometries to study multicellular tissues.

Related Faculty: Ryan Koppes, Abigail N. Koppes