Kidney-on-a-Chip Technology for Drug-Induced Nephrotoxicity Screening

Trends Biotechnol. 2016 Feb;34(2):156-170. doi: 10.1016/j.tibtech.2015.11.001. Epub 2015 Dec 18.


Improved model systems to predict drug efficacy, interactions, and drug-induced kidney injury (DIKI) are crucially needed in drug development. Organ-on-a-chip technology is a suitable in vitro system because it reproduces the 3D microenvironment. A kidney-on-a-chip can mimic the structural, mechanical, transport, absorptive, and physiological properties of the human kidney. In this review we address the application of state-of-the-art microfluidic culturing techniques, with a focus on culturing kidney proximal tubules, that are promising for the detection of biomarkers that predict drug interactions and DIKI. We also discuss high-throughput screening and the challenges for in vitro to in vivo extrapolation (IVIVE) that will need to be overcome for successful implementation.

Keywords: drug screening; high-throughput screening; kidney; microfluidics; nephrotoxicity; organ-on-a-chip.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Acute Kidney Injury / chemically induced*
  • Drug Evaluation, Preclinical / methods*
  • Humans
  • Kidney / drug effects*
  • Microfluidic Analytical Techniques / methods*
  • Models, Biological
  • Organ Culture Techniques / methods*