Song Ih Ahn 1 , 2 , Yoshitaka J. Sei 1 , 2 , Hyun-Ji Park 1 , Jinhwan Kim 1 , Yujung Ryu 1 , Jeongmoon J. Choi 3 , Hak-Joon Sung 4 , Tobey J. MacDonald 5 , Allan I. Levey 6 , YongTae Kim , 1 , 2 , 7 , 8
10 January 2020
Challenges in drug development of neurological diseases remain mainly ascribed to the blood–brain barrier (BBB). Despite the valuable contribution of animal models to drug discovery, it remains difficult to conduct mechanistic studies on the barrier function and interactions with drugs at molecular and cellular levels. Here we present a microphysiological platform that recapitulates the key structure and function of the human BBB and enables 3D mapping of nanoparticle distributions in the vascular and perivascular regions. We demonstrate on-chip mimicry of the BBB structure and function by cellular interactions, key gene expressions, low permeability, and 3D astrocytic network with reduced reactive gliosis and polarized aquaporin-4 (AQP4) distribution. Moreover, our model precisely captures 3D nanoparticle distributions at cellular levels and demonstrates the distinct cellular uptakes and BBB penetrations through receptor-mediated transcytosis. Our BBB platform may present a complementary in vitro model to animal models for prescreening drug candidates for the treatment of neurological diseases.
Developing an in vitro blood-brain-barrier (BBB) model that reproduces the organ’s complex structure and function is an open challenge. Here the authors present a BBB-on-a-chip that includes endothelial cells, pericytes and a 3D astrocytic network which resembles the morphology and function of astrocytes in the BBB in vivo.