The next step towards more biomimetic in vitro models is the design of multi-organ devices, which allow for communication of different tissue types. Combining physiologically relevant organ models in perfusion systems bears technological challenges and often leads to complicated culturing setups. Complex systems require trained personnel, feature lower reproducibility and make integration into scalable routine processes difficult. The presented multi-tissue platform features microfluidic channels and chambers that were specifically engineered for culturing of microtissue spheroids under physiological flow conditions. The platform has a plate-format, is fabricated completely out of polystyrene and complies with SBS-standard dimensions. Each plate includes 8 parallel channels, each channel contains 10 microtissue compartments. The compartments have minimal dead volume (<2 uL) and the so-called ‘StandingDropPort’ render microtissues individually accessible, so that a robotic pipet tip can be used for parallelized microtissue loading and retrieval. Open media reservoirs are located at both ends of each channel. Perfusion flow is generated through tilting the device back and forth on an automated system inside an incubator. Multiple devices can be operated in parallel, which increases the number of conditions and statistical replicates that can be executed in parallel. The concept allows for on-demand interconnection of up to 10 identical or different microtissues per channel in a very flexible way. With the broad range of available spheroid-based organ-models, a variety of pre-clinical testing applications can be served using the very same platform.
1. Understanding the physiological relevance and handling of 3D microtissue spheroids
2. How to perform multi-tissue experiments in a scalable and reproducible way