Recreating the female reproductive tract in vitro using iPSC technology in a linked microfluidics environment

Stem Cell Res Ther. 2013;4 Suppl 1(Suppl 1):S13. doi: 10.1186/scrt374. Epub 2013 Dec 20.


The female reproductive tract produces hormones for reproductive function and cardiovascular, bone and sexual health; the tract supplies a finite number of gametes, and it supports fetal development. Diseases that affect each of the female reproductive tract organs, along with treatments that have direct, deleterious effects on the reproductive tract (for example, chemotherapeutics), are understudied due to the lack of model systems that phenocopy in vivo function. This review describes a path toward developing female reproductive tract mimics. The models use isolated primary support cells cultured onto a biological scaffold and within a microfluidic system to create a niche and support the desired differentiation of epithelia, germ and somatic cells from patient-derived induced pluripotent stem cells. Improving our fund of knowledge about reproductive tract biology and creating reproductive organs for patients who have lost gonadal, uterine or vaginal/ cervical function is a major step forward in women's health and an important advancement in personalized medicine.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Infective Agents / pharmacology
  • Anti-Infective Agents / therapeutic use
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Endocrine Cells / cytology
  • Endocrine Cells / drug effects
  • Endocrine Cells / metabolism
  • Epithelial Cells / cytology
  • Epithelial Cells / drug effects
  • Epithelial Cells / metabolism
  • Female
  • Genital Diseases, Female / drug therapy
  • Genital Diseases, Female / pathology
  • Germ Cells / cytology
  • Germ Cells / drug effects
  • Germ Cells / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Microfluidics / instrumentation
  • Microfluidics / methods


  • Anti-Infective Agents