A new microfluidic method enabling the generation of multi-layered tissues-on-chips using skin cells as a proof of concept Articles uri icon

publication date

  • June 2021


  • 13160


  • 11

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 2045-2322


  • Microfluidic-based tissues-on-chips (TOCs) have thus far been restricted to modelling simple epithelia as a single cell layer, but likely due to technical difficulties, no TOCs have been reported to include both an epithelial and a stromal component despite the biological importance of the stroma for the structure and function of human tissues. We present, for the first time, a novel approach to generate 3D multilayer tissue models in microfluidic platforms. As a proof of concept, we modelled skin, including a dermal and an epidermal compartment. To accomplish this, we developed a parallel flow method enabling the deposition of bilayer tissue in the upper chamber, which was subsequently maintained under dynamic nutrient flow conditions through the lower chamber, mimicking the function of a blood vessel. We also designed and built an inexpensive, easy-to-implement, versatile, and robust vinyl-based device that overcomes some of the drawbacks present in PDMS-based chips. Preliminary tests indicate that this biochip will allow the development and maintenance of multilayer tissues, which opens the possibility of better modelling of the complex cell–cell and cell–matrix interactions that exist in and between the epithelium and mesenchyme, allowing for better-grounded tissue modelling and drug screening.


  • biomedical engineering; fluidics; lab-on-a-chip