A lung-on-chip array with an integrated bio-inspired respiration mechanism
Andreas O. Stucki, Janick D. Stucki, Sean R. R. Hall, Marcel Felder, Yves Mermoud, Ralph A. Schmid, Thomas Geiser, Olivier T. Guenat
University of Bern
Lab on a Chip
We report about a lung-on-chip array that mimics the pulmonary parenchymal environment, including
the thin, alveolar barrier and the three-dimensional cyclic strain induced by the breathing movements.
A micro-diaphragm used to stretch the alveolar barrier is inspired by the in-vivo diaphragm, the main
muscle responsible for inspiration. The design of this device aims not only at best reproducing the invivo
conditions found in the lung parenchyma, but also at making its handling easy and robust. An
innovative concept, based on the reversible bonding of the device, is presented that enables to
accurately control the concentration of cells cultured on the membrane by easily accessing both sides
of the membranes. The functionality of the alveolar barrier could be restored by co-culturing epithelial
and endothelial cells that formed tight monolayers on each side of a thin, porous and stretchable
membrane. We showed that cyclic stretch significantly affects the permeability properties of epithelial
cell layers. Furthermore, we could also demonstrate that the strain influences the metabolic activity and
the cytokine secretion of primary human pulmonary alveolar epithelial cells obtained from patients.
These results demonstrate the potential of this device and confirm the importance of the mechanical
strain induced by the breathing in pulmonary research.