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Cytostretch, an Organ-on-Chip Platform

Laboratory of Electronic Components, Technology & Materials (ECTM), DIMES, Delft University of Technology, 2628 CD Delft, The Netherlands
Department of Anatomy and Embryology, Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden 2333 ZC, The Netherlands
Department of Dermatology, VU University Medical Center Amsterdam, Amsterdam 1081 HT, The Netherlands
Philips Research, Eindhoven 5656 AE, The Netherlands
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Nam-Trung Nguyen and Seyed Ali Mousavi Shaegh
Micromachines 2016, 7(7), 120;
Received: 10 May 2016 / Revised: 30 June 2016 / Accepted: 7 July 2016 / Published: 14 July 2016
PDF [8270 KB, uploaded 14 July 2016]


Organ-on-Chips (OOCs) are micro-fabricated devices which are used to culture cells in order to mimic functional units of human organs. The devices are designed to simulate the physiological environment of tissues in vivo. Cells in some types of OOCs can be stimulated in situ by electrical and/or mechanical actuators. These actuations can mimic physiological conditions in real tissue and may include fluid or air flow, or cyclic stretch and strain as they occur in the lung and heart. These conditions similarly affect cultured cells and may influence their ability to respond appropriately to physiological or pathological stimuli. To date, most focus has been on devices specifically designed to culture just one functional unit of a specific organ: lung alveoli, kidney nephrons or blood vessels, for example. In contrast, the modular Cytostretch membrane platform described here allows OOCs to be customized to different OOC applications. The platform utilizes silicon-based micro-fabrication techniques that allow low-cost, high-volume manufacturing. We describe the platform concept and its modules developed to date. Membrane variants include membranes with (i) through-membrane pores that allow biological signaling molecules to pass between two different tissue compartments; (ii) a stretchable micro-electrode array for electrical monitoring and stimulation; (iii) micro-patterning to promote cell alignment; and (iv) strain gauges to measure changes in substrate stress. This paper presents the fabrication and the proof of functionality for each module of the Cytostretch membrane. The assessment of each additional module demonstrate that a wide range of OOCs can be achieved. View Full-Text
Keywords: organ-on-chip; customizable; modular; platform; Cytostretch; micro-electrode array; micro-grooves; through-membrane pores; strain gauges; stem cells organ-on-chip; customizable; modular; platform; Cytostretch; micro-electrode array; micro-grooves; through-membrane pores; strain gauges; stem cells

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Gaio, N.; Van Meer, B.; Quirós Solano, W.; Bergers, L.; Van de Stolpe, A.; Mummery, C.; Sarro, P.M.; Dekker, R. Cytostretch, an Organ-on-Chip Platform. Micromachines 2016, 7, 120.

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