Lung-on-Chip Model

AlveoliX’s first in-vitro model mimics the biophysical microenvironment of the air-blood barrier of the human lung, including the mechanical stress induced by the respiration. This model is expected to best predict the effects of respiratory drug candidates in humans and thus reduce the number of drug candidates to be tested in costly clinical trials.

In-vivo Complexity and Easy Handling Combined

  • Thin air-blood barrier
  • Cyclic breathing movements
  • Lung alveoli array
  • Multichannel pipette compatible
  • Semi-open design

From the Human Lung…

In the human lung, the ultra-thin air–blood barrier is constantly exposed to the cyclic mechanical stress induced by the diaphragm, the most important muscle for inspiration. The negative pressure created by this muscle is further transmitted to the complex architecture of the lung, down to its most delicate structures, the alveolar sacs. They are formed by a group of alveoli that are the terminal parts of the respiratory tract, where the gas exchange takes place. The alveoli consist of alveolar epithelial cells, in contact with air, that are separated from the blood by a basal membrane and pulmonary microcapillaries. These cells are constantly subjected to a cyclic stretching that plays a key role in a number of phenomena, such as alveolar stability, tissue stiffness, cellular proliferation and many others.

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Lung-on-Chip Technology

The AlveoliX lung-on-chip is equipped with three “alveolar wells” for the test of various drug candidates (left picture below: the basolateral compartments are filled with dyed solutions for visualization purpose). A thin porous and flexible membrane on which lung cells are cultured is shown on the right with an adherent cell between an array of micropores. The membrane is cyclically deflected in three dimensions like in the human lung.

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The following video shows type II lung alveolar epithelial cells cultured on the thin membrane and cyclically stretched. The stress level corresponds to the stress that takes place in a healthy lung at rest (10% linear strain, 10 cycles/min).


… to a Bioinspired Lung-on-Chip

The breathing principle reproduced in the AlveoliX lung-on-chip is inspired by the diaphragm cyclic movements that is responsible for respiration. A microdiaphragm, actuated by an external electro-pneumatic pump, induces a three-dimensional cyclic mechanical stress to the bioartificial alveolar membrane, on which lung cells are cultured. A cross-section of the lung-on-chip illustrates the breathing principle:

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The following animation illustrates the principle of the in-vitro breathing that takes place in the lung-on-chip. Lung cells are cultured on both sides of the thin, flexible membrane. A cyclic negative pressure is applied in the cavity located below the micro-diaphragm that actuates the membrane of the micro-diaphragm and the alveolar barrier.