Organ-on-a-chip technology and microfluidic whole-body models for pharmacokinetic drug toxicity screening



Microscale cell culture platforms better mimic the in vivo cellular microenvironment than conventional, macroscale systems. Microscale cultures therefore elicit a more authentic response from cultured cells, enabling physiologically realistic in vitro tissue models to be constructed. The fabrication of interconnecting microchambers and microchannels allows drug absorption, distribution, metabolism and elimination to be simulated, and enables precise manipulation of fluid flow to replicate blood circulation. Complex, multi-organ interactions can be investigated using “organ-on-a-chip” toxicology screens. By reproducing the dynamics of multi-organ interaction, the dynamics of various diseases and drug activities can be studied in mechanistic detail. In this review, we summarize the current status of technologies related to pharmacokinetic-based drug toxicity testing, and the use of microtechnology for reproducing the interaction between multiple organs.