Microphysiological systems for human aging research

Aging Cell. 2024 Mar;23(3):e14070. doi: 10.1111/acel.14070. Epub 2024 Jan 5.


Recent advances in microphysiological systems (MPS), also known as organs-on-a-chip (OoC), enable the recapitulation of more complex organ and tissue functions on a smaller scale in vitro. MPS therefore provide the potential to better understand human diseases and physiology. To date, numerous MPS platforms have been developed for various tissues and organs, including the heart, liver, kidney, blood vessels, muscle, and adipose tissue. However, only a few studies have explored using MPS platforms to unravel the effects of aging on human physiology and the pathogenesis of age-related diseases. Age is one of the risk factors for many diseases, and enormous interest has been devoted to aging research. As such, a human MPS aging model could provide a more predictive tool to understand the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying human aging and age-related diseases. These models can also be used to evaluate preclinical drugs for age-related diseases and translate them into clinical settings. Here, we provide a review on the application of MPS in aging research. First, we offer an overview of the molecular, cellular, and physiological changes with age in several tissues or organs. Next, we discuss previous aging models and the current state of MPS for studying human aging and age-related conditions. Lastly, we address the limitations of current MPS and present future directions on the potential of MPS platforms for human aging research.

Keywords: age-related changes; age-related diseases; aging; aging phenotypes; microphysiological systems.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Geroscience
  • Humans
  • Lab-On-A-Chip Devices*
  • Liver
  • Microphysiological Systems*