Bone marrow-on-a-chip replicates hematopoietic niche physiology in vitro

Nat Methods. 2014 Jun;11(6):663-9. doi: 10.1038/nmeth.2938. Epub 2014 May 4.


Current in vitro hematopoiesis models fail to demonstrate the cellular diversity and complex functions of living bone marrow; hence, most translational studies relevant to the hematologic system are conducted in live animals. Here we describe a method for fabricating 'bone marrow-on-a-chip' that permits culture of living marrow with a functional hematopoietic niche in vitro by first engineering new bone in vivo, removing it whole and perfusing it with culture medium in a microfluidic device. The engineered bone marrow (eBM) retains hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells in normal in vivo-like proportions for at least 1 week in culture. eBM models organ-level marrow toxicity responses and protective effects of radiation countermeasure drugs, whereas conventional bone marrow culture methods do not. This biomimetic microdevice offers a new approach for analysis of drug responses and toxicities in bone marrow as well as for study of hematopoiesis and hematologic diseases in vitro.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bone Marrow / chemistry
  • Bone Marrow / physiology*
  • Cell Culture Techniques
  • Hematopoiesis*
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cells / physiology*
  • Mice
  • Microfluidic Analytical Techniques*