Development of a Gut-On-A-Chip Model for High Throughput Disease Modeling and Drug Discovery

Int J Mol Sci. 2019 Nov 12;20(22):5661. doi: 10.3390/ijms20225661.


A common bottleneck in any drug development process is finding sufficiently accurate models that capture key aspects of disease development and progression. Conventional drug screening models often rely on simple 2D culture systems that fail to recapitulate the complexity of the organ situation. In this study, we show the application of a robust high throughput 3D gut-on-a-chip model for investigating hallmarks of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Using the OrganoPlate platform, we subjected enterocyte-like cells to an immune-relevant inflammatory trigger in order to recapitulate key events of IBD and to further investigate the suitability of this model for compound discovery and target validation activities. The induction of inflammatory conditions caused a loss of barrier function of the intestinal epithelium and its activation by increased cytokine production, two events observed in IBD physiopathology. More importantly, anti-inflammatory compound exposure prevented the loss of barrier function and the increased cytokine release. Furthermore, knockdown of key inflammatory regulators RELA and MYD88 through on-chip adenoviral shRNA transduction alleviated IBD phenotype by decreasing cytokine production. In summary, we demonstrate the routine use of a gut-on-a-chip platform for disease-specific aspects modeling. The approach can be used for larger scale disease modeling, target validation and drug discovery purposes.

Keywords: Organ-on-a-Chip; disease modeling; drug discovery; gut-on-a-chip; inflammation; inflammatory bowel disease; microfluidic.

MeSH terms

  • Caco-2 Cells
  • Drug Discovery*
  • Drug Evaluation, Preclinical
  • Gene Knockout Techniques
  • Humans
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases* / drug therapy
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases* / genetics
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases* / metabolism
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases* / pathology
  • Lab-On-A-Chip Devices
  • Microchip Analytical Procedures*
  • Models, Biological*
  • Myeloid Differentiation Factor 88 / genetics
  • Myeloid Differentiation Factor 88 / metabolism
  • Transcription Factor RelA / genetics
  • Transcription Factor RelA / metabolism


  • MYD88 protein, human
  • Myeloid Differentiation Factor 88
  • RELA protein, human
  • Transcription Factor RelA