Advances in organ-on-a-chip systems for modelling joint tissue and osteoarthritic diseases

Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2022 Aug;30(8):1050-1061. doi: 10.1016/j.joca.2022.03.012. Epub 2022 Apr 20.


Joint-on-a-chip (JOC) models are powerful tools that aid in osteoarthritis (OA) research. These microfluidic devices apply emerging organ-on-a-chip technology to recapitulate a multifaceted joint tissue microenvironment. JOCs address the need for advanced, dynamic in vitro models that can mimic the in vivo tissue environment through joint-relevant biomechanical or fluidic integration, an aspect that existing in vitro OA models lack. There are existing review articles on OA models that focus on animal, tissue explant, and two-dimensional and three-dimensional (3D) culture systems, including microbioreactors and 3D printing technology, but there has been limited discussion of JOC models. The aim of this article is to review recent developments in human JOC technology and identify gaps for future advancements. Specifically, mechanical stimulation systems that mimic articular movement, multi-joint tissue cultures that enable crosstalk, and systems that aim to capture aspects of OA inflammation by incorporating immune cells are covered. The development of an advanced JOC model that captures the dynamic joint microenvironment will improve testing and translation of potential OA therapeutics.

Keywords: In vitro models; Microfluidics; Organ-on-a-chip; Osteoarthritis; Tissue engineering.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Lab-On-A-Chip Devices*
  • Osteoarthritis*
  • Tissue Engineering / methods