Advances in ex vivo models and lab-on-a-chip devices for neural tissue engineering

Biomaterials. 2019 Apr;198:146-166. doi: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2018.05.012. Epub 2018 May 11.


The technologies related to ex vivo models and lab-on-a-chip devices for studying the regeneration of brain, spinal cord, and peripheral nerve tissues are essential tools for neural tissue engineering and regenerative medicine research. The need for ex vivo systems, lab-on-a-chip technologies and disease models for neural tissue engineering applications are emerging to overcome the shortages and drawbacks of traditional in vitro systems and animal models. Ex vivo models have evolved from traditional 2D cell culture models to 3D tissue-engineered scaffold systems, bioreactors, and recently organoid test beds. In addition to ex vivo model systems, we discuss lab-on-a-chip devices and technologies specifically for neural tissue engineering applications. Finally, we review current commercial products that mimic diseased and normal neural tissues, and discuss the future directions in this field.

Keywords: Bioreactors; Ex vivo neural models; Lab-on-a-chip; Neural tissue engineering; Test beds for neural engineering.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Equipment Design
  • Humans
  • Lab-On-A-Chip Devices*
  • Nerve Tissue / cytology*
  • Nerve Tissue / physiology
  • Tissue Engineering / instrumentation*
  • Tissue Engineering / methods
  • Tissue Scaffolds / chemistry