Microengineered Bioartificial Liver Chip for Drug Toxicity Screening

Bahman Delalat, Chiara Cozzi, Soraya Rasi Ghaemi, Giovanni Polito, Frederik H. Kriel, Thomas Danny Michl, Frances J. Harding, Craig Priest, Giuseppe Barillaro, Nicolas H. Voelcker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

46 Citations (Scopus)


Microfluidic 3D cell culture is a promising technology for the screening of drug toxicity profiles. In this study, a bioartificial liver consisting of a surface-engineered microfluidic silicon chip with microtrenches mimicking hepatic sinusoids is shown to extend 3D primary hepatocyte culture and improve in vitro drug screening for hepatotoxicity, with respect to the state-of-the-art literature on this subject. Primary hepatocytes hosted in the 3D heparin-coated microtrenches (the bioartificial liver) secrete high levels of albumin and urea over 4 weeks. The cytotoxicity of common drugs, namely, acetaminophen, chlorpromazine, and tacrine, was assessed on primary hepatocytes both at day 1 and day 7. The results suggest that mimicking hepatic sinusoids using a microtrench format allows the maintenance of difficult-to-culture primary hepatocytes to be extended to 4 weeks and provides an alternative model to animal studies for the screening of the cytotoxicity of new drugs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1801825
Number of pages10
JournalAdvanced Functional Materials
Issue number28
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jul 2018


  • bioartificial livers
  • hepatotoxicity
  • microfluidics
  • microtrench chips

Cite this