Special Issue "Organs-on-Chips, Volume 2"

A special issue of Bioengineering (ISSN 2306-5354).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 July 2021).

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Virginia Pensabene
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK
Interests: organs-on-chip; hybrid microfabrication; sensors; permeable membranes; ultrathin films; bioadhesives; reproductive toxicology; microphysiological systems
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The interest in fast, high-throughput, and reliable systems to speed up drug discovery and the screening of new drugs is increasing in these critical times, and organs-on-chips represent a key technology to answer the needs of researchers in academia and industry.

The research community is developing more effective models of human physiology and adopting techniques from microfluidics, omics analysis, materials science, and pharmacology, and the technology is rapidly changing, reflecting the advancements of the last 10 years.

Organs-on-chips have been applied to clarify the pathogenesis and pathophysiology of human diseases affecting one or multiple organs and systems (e.g., vasculature, skin, bone, cartilage, and reproductive organs).

Recent examples show that it is now possible to study the physiology of a single organ and link it to its metabolism, its response to drugs or toxins, its immune system, and the hormonal regulation of other organs. Interestingly, the organs-on-chips community groups together experts from different disciplines and has boosted innovation in nano/microfabrication, tissue engineering, and material science.

Effective micro- and mesofluidic models are now commercially available and enable the long-term growth and control of the phenotypic characteristics of multiple cell types.

Thanks to their potential to revolutionize drug development, disease modeling, and personalized medicine, organs-on-chips have drastically reduced the use of animals in academic and industrial R&D, replaced traditional in vivo validation and preclinical trials in animals, and supported the refinement of in vitro methods and techniques.

Our first Special Issue collected many examples of the research in this field. Read here the manuscripts in Organs-on-Chips Volume 1.

This Special Issue aims to collect top research outcomes that represent the current scenario in this field of animal and human organs-on-chips models. We welcome reports on the development of ancillary technologies such as on-chip or downstream sensing, perfusion systems, and engineering approaches to support cell development. New strategies and revised approaches for manufacturing organs-on-chips will be included, including new techniques to solve the limitations of traditionally used plastics (e.g., molecules adsorption, hydrophobicity, and transparency), using alternative and sustainable manufacturing processes and materials. Examples of contributions could address:

  • Animal and human organs-on-chips models;
  • Validation of organs-on-chips models for drug testing and drug screening, toxicity, and toxicology studies;
  • Novel methods for the analysis of organs’ effluents;
  • Non-perturbative analytical methods;
  • Sensors integration and techniques for in situ monitoring;
  • Multiple organs connections and validation.

The journals Bioengineering and Life is jointly publishing a Special Issue covering the topic "Organs-on-Chips".

You may choose our Joint Special Issue in Life.

Dr. Virginia Pensabene
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Bioengineering is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

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Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

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Article
Multi-Compartment Lymph-Node-on-a-Chip Enables Measurement of Immune Cell Motility in Response to Drugs
Bioengineering 2021, 8(2), 19; https://doi.org/10.3390/bioengineering8020019 - 31 Jan 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1212
Abstract
Organs On-a-Chip represent novel platforms for modelling human physiology and disease. The lymph node (LN) is a relevant immune organ in which B and T lymphocytes are spatially organized in a complex architecture, and it is the place where the immune response initiates. [...] Read more.
Organs On-a-Chip represent novel platforms for modelling human physiology and disease. The lymph node (LN) is a relevant immune organ in which B and T lymphocytes are spatially organized in a complex architecture, and it is the place where the immune response initiates. The present study addresses the utility of a recently designed LN-on-a-chip to dissect and understand the effect of drugs delivered to cells in a fluidic multicellular 3D setting that mimics the human LN. To do so, we analyzed the motility and viability of human B and T cells exposed to hydroxychloroquine (HCQ). We show that the innovative LN platform, which operates at a microscale level, allows real-time monitoring of co-cultured B and T cells by imaging, and supports cellular random movement. HCQ delivered to cells through a constant and continuous flow induces a reduction in T cell velocity while promotes persistent rotational motion. We also find that HCQ increases the production of reactive oxygen species in T cells. Taken together, these results highlight the potential of the LN-on-a-chip to be applied in drug screening and development, and in cellular dynamics studies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Organs-on-Chips, Volume 2)
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Article
Toward Spatial Identities in Human Brain Organoids-on-Chip Induced by Morphogen-Soaked Beads
Bioengineering 2020, 7(4), 164; https://doi.org/10.3390/bioengineering7040164 - 18 Dec 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1479
Abstract
Recent advances in stem-cell technologies include the differentiation of human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) into organ-like structures (organoids). These organoids exhibit remarkable self-organization that resembles key aspects of in vivo organ development. However, organoids have an unpredictable anatomy, and poorly reflect the topography [...] Read more.
Recent advances in stem-cell technologies include the differentiation of human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) into organ-like structures (organoids). These organoids exhibit remarkable self-organization that resembles key aspects of in vivo organ development. However, organoids have an unpredictable anatomy, and poorly reflect the topography of the dorsoventral, mediolateral, and anteroposterior axes. In vivo the temporal and the spatial patterning of the developing tissue is orchestrated by signaling molecules called morphogens. Here, we used morphogen-soaked beads to influence the spatial identities within hESC-derived brain organoids. The morphogen- and synthetic molecules-soaked beads were interpreted as local organizers, and key transcription factor expression levels within the organoids were affected as a function of the distance from the bead. We used an on-chip imaging device that we have developed, that allows live imaging of the developing hESC-derived organoids. This platform enabled studying the effect of changes in WNT/BMP gradients on the expression of key landmark genes in the on-chip human brain organoids. Titration of CHIR99201 (WNT agonist) and BMP4 directed the expression of telencephalon and medial pallium genes; dorsal and ventral midbrain markers; and isthmus-related genes. Overall, our protocol provides an opportunity to study phenotypes of altered regional specification and defected connectivity, which are found in neurodevelopmental diseases. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Organs-on-Chips, Volume 2)
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Review

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Review
A Review of Biomaterials and Scaffold Fabrication for Organ-on-a-Chip (OOAC) Systems
Bioengineering 2021, 8(8), 113; https://doi.org/10.3390/bioengineering8080113 - 06 Aug 2021
Viewed by 983
Abstract
Drug and chemical development along with safety tests rely on the use of numerous clinical models. This is a lengthy process where animal testing is used as a standard for pre-clinical trials. However, these models often fail to represent human physiopathology. This may [...] Read more.
Drug and chemical development along with safety tests rely on the use of numerous clinical models. This is a lengthy process where animal testing is used as a standard for pre-clinical trials. However, these models often fail to represent human physiopathology. This may lead to poor correlation with results from later human clinical trials. Organ-on-a-Chip (OOAC) systems are engineered microfluidic systems, which recapitulate the physiochemical environment of a specific organ by emulating the perfusion and shear stress cellular tissue undergoes in vivo and could replace current animal models. The success of culturing cells and cell-derived tissues within these systems is dependent on the scaffold chosen; hence, scaffolds are critical for the success of OOACs in research. A literature review was conducted looking at current OOAC systems to assess the advantages and disadvantages of different materials and manufacturing techniques used for scaffold production; and the alternatives that could be tailored from the macro tissue engineering research field. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Organs-on-Chips, Volume 2)
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Review
Translational Roadmap for the Organs-on-a-Chip Industry toward Broad Adoption
Bioengineering 2020, 7(3), 112; https://doi.org/10.3390/bioengineering7030112 - 16 Sep 2020
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 2403
Abstract
Organs-on-a-Chip (OOAC) is a disruptive technology with widely recognized potential to change the efficiency, effectiveness, and costs of the drug discovery process; to advance insights into human biology; to enable clinical research where human trials are not feasible. However, further development is needed [...] Read more.
Organs-on-a-Chip (OOAC) is a disruptive technology with widely recognized potential to change the efficiency, effectiveness, and costs of the drug discovery process; to advance insights into human biology; to enable clinical research where human trials are not feasible. However, further development is needed for the successful adoption and acceptance of this technology. Areas for improvement include technological maturity, more robust validation of translational and predictive in vivo-like biology, and requirements of tighter quality standards for commercial viability. In this review, we reported on the consensus around existing challenges and necessary performance benchmarks that are required toward the broader adoption of OOACs in the next five years, and we defined a potential roadmap for future translational development of OOAC technology. We provided a clear snapshot of the current developmental stage of OOAC commercialization, including existing platforms, ancillary technologies, and tools required for the use of OOAC devices, and analyze their technology readiness levels. Using data gathered from OOAC developers and end-users, we identified prevalent challenges faced by the community, strategic trends and requirements driving OOAC technology development, and existing technological bottlenecks that could be outsourced or leveraged by active collaborations with academia. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Organs-on-Chips, Volume 2)
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