Oral mucositis on a chip: modeling induction by chemo- and radiation treatments and recovery

Biofabrication. 2022 Oct 27;15(1):10.1088/1758-5090/ac933b. doi: 10.1088/1758-5090/ac933b.


Oral mucositis (OM) is a debilitating complication affecting roughly 70% of head and neck cancer patients receiving chemotherapy and/or radiation treatment. No broadly effective preventative treatment for OM exists. Therefore, anin vitromodel of cancer treatment-induced OM would aid studies into possible origins of the pathology and future drug targets to ameliorate it. In this study, we present a microfluidic oral mucosa triculture tissue construct consisting of a keratinocyte layer attached to a subepithelial fibroblast and endothelial cell-embedded collagen gel. To address the typically low stability of mucosal constructs in microfluidics, ruthenium-catalyzed photocrosslinking was implemented to strengthen the collagen gel and prevent the invasion of keratinocytes, thus maintaining tissue construct geometry and oral mucosa barrier function for over 18 d of culture. Next, the OM chip was exposed to cisplatin (day 10) and damaging radiation (day 11, ± cisplatin at day 10), mimicking damage from cancer therapy. Damage to and then recovery of the tissue layers and function were observed over days 11-18. Therefore, several important features of OM induction and resolution were modeled in microfluidic culture. The OM model on a chip allows for more sophisticated studies into mechanisms of OM and potential treatments.

Keywords: chemotherapy; oral mucosa; oral mucositis (OM); photocrosslinking; radiation therapy; tissue chips; triculture.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Cisplatin / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Lab-On-A-Chip Devices
  • Mouth Mucosa
  • Ruthenium* / adverse effects
  • Stomatitis* / chemically induced
  • Stomatitis* / drug therapy


  • Cisplatin
  • Ruthenium