Submit manuscript...
Advances in
eISSN: 2572-8490

Tissue Engineering & Regenerative Medicine: Open Access

Short Communication Volume 10 Issue 1

Revolutionizing toxicology: organ-on-a-chip insights in a snapshot

Manisha Kawadkar

School of Pharmacy, GH Raisoni University, India

Correspondence: Manisha Kawadkar, School of Pharmacy, GH Raisoni University, Chhindwara, Madhya Pradesh, India

Received: December 27, 2023 | Published: February 2, 2024

Citation: Kawadkar M. Revolutionizing toxicology: organ-on-a-chip insights in a snapshot. Adv Tissue Eng Regen Med. 2024;10(1):9-12. DOI: 10.15406/atroa.2024.10.00146

Download PDF


Organ-on-chip (OOC) platforms aim to emulate the complex physiological and functional characteristics of human organs, offering a more accurate and predictive model for drug testing and toxicity studies compared to traditional in vitro and animal testing methods. The article discusses key advancements, challenges, and prospects of OOC technology in toxicology, drawing upon a variety of studies and references. The article encapsulates key advancements, applications, and prospects in OOC platforms. The review emphasizes the significance of OOC models in providing rapid yet comprehensive insights into drug responses, toxicity assessments, and disease modelling. By highlighting pioneering studies and breakthroughs, and navigating the evolving landscape of OOC technology in toxicological research.

Keywords: organ-on-chip, heart-on-chip, liver-on-chip, artificial intelligence, toxicology


Organ-on-a-chip (OOC) technology has emerged as a revolutionary approach to toxicological assessments, offering a more physiologically relevant alternative to conventional methods. By recapitulating the microenvironment of specific organs, OOC devices provide a platform for studying drug responses, toxicity, and disease mechanisms. This section introduces the fundamental principles of OOC technology and its potential impact on advancing toxicological research.1,2 Various organ models, including liver, lung, kidney, heart, and more, have been successfully developed to mimic their in vivo counterparts. Advances in microfabrication techniques, biomaterials, and integration of sensors contribute to the improved functionality and reliability of OOC platforms.

In recent years, Organ-on-a-Chip (OOC) technology has emerged as a groundbreaking paradigm in toxicological research, promising to revolutionize traditional approaches to drug testing and toxicity assessments. This short communication, titled "Revolutionizing Toxicology: Organ-on-a-Chip Insights in a Snapshot," offers a concise exploration of the transformative impact of OOC platforms in the realm of toxicology.3,4

While valuable, traditional in vitro and in vivo models often fall short in accurately predicting human responses to drugs and environmental toxins. The need for more physiologically relevant and predictive systems has driven the development of OOC technology, where miniature organ models are recreated on microfluidic platforms to mimic the intricate cellular interactions and dynamic microenvironments found in vivo.5,6

This brief overview aims to capture the essence of how OOC technology is reshaping toxicological research by providing a snapshot of key insights. By replicating the complex architecture and physiological conditions of human organs, OOC models offer a unique opportunity to bridge the gap between traditional experimental models, enabling more accurate predictions of drug responses and toxicities.7

As we delve into the insights provided by OOC platforms, it becomes evident that these miniature organ models hold immense promise for advancing our understanding of toxicological mechanisms. By incorporating microfluidic systems, biomaterials, and relevant physiological factors, OOC technology provides a platform where researchers can observe and analyze drug-induced effects with unprecedented precision. The following sections will further elaborate on the design principles, applications, challenges, and prospects of OOC platforms, offering a snapshot of the transformative journey these technologies are undertaking in toxicology. Through this brief exploration, we aim to convey OOC technology's pivotal role in shaping the future of toxicological assessments, ushering in a new era of more accurate and predictive models. While OOC technology holds great potential, it is not without challenges.8–10

The concept of liver-on-a-chip technology11–14

Liver-on-a-chip represents a transformative approach in biomedical research, aiming to bridge the significant gap that exists between traditional in vitro (cell culture) and in vivo (animal or human) models. Liver-on-a-chip platforms leverage microengineering and microfluidic technologies to create miniature, biomimetic systems that replicate key aspects of the liver's physiological environment. This innovative approach offers several advantages over conventional models, contributing to more accurate, relevant, and predictive toxicological assessments. Liver-on-a-chip devices recreate the microenvironment of the liver more accurately than traditional cell cultures. They incorporate key elements such as fluid flow, shear stress, and tissue-tissue interfaces, closely mimicking the in vivo conditions.

Enhanced predictive value: Liver-on-a-chip models provide a more physiologically relevant context for toxicological assessments, leading to increased predictive value. This is crucial for identifying potential drug toxicities and adverse effects early in the drug development process.

Cellular complexity: Multicellular Interactions: Liver-on-a-Chip platforms enable the study of complex interactions between different cell types within the liver, including hepatocytes, Kupffer cells, and stellate cells. This cellular complexity better reflects the in vivo scenario, where multiple cell types collaborate to perform various functions.

Dynamic microenvironment: Microfluidic Systems: Liver-on-a-Chip devices incorporate microfluidic systems that allow for dynamic flow of culture media, nutrient delivery, and waste removal. This dynamic environment is crucial for maintaining cell viability and function over extended periods, more closely resembling the physiological conditions of the liver.

Bridge between in vitro and in vivo

Translational potential: Liver-on-a-chip technology serves as a bridge between traditional in vitro cell cultures and in vivo animal models. It allows researchers to perform experiments at a scale that is more relevant to human physiology while maintaining a level of experimental control that is characteristic of in vitro systems.

Reduction of animal testing

Ethical and practical implications: Liver-on-a-chip technology has the potential to reduce reliance on animal testing for toxicity studies. This not only addresses ethical concerns related to animal welfare but also provides a more cost-effective and efficient means of conducting experiments.

Customization for patient-specific studies

Personalized medicine: Liver-on-a-chip platforms can be customized with patient-specific cells, enabling the study of individual variations in drug responses and toxicities. This personalized approach is a significant step toward advancing precision medicine. 

Integration of sensing technologies13,14

Real-time monitoring: Some Liver-on-a-Chip devices integrate sensors for real-time monitoring of cellular responses, allowing researchers to observe and analyze toxicological effects as they occur. This capability enhances the understanding of dynamic cellular processes.

Liver-on-a-chip technology represents a paradigm shift in toxicological assessments, offering a transformative approach that combines the benefits of in vitro and in vivo models. By faithfully recapitulating the physiological conditions of the liver, these platforms provide a more accurate and predictive system for studying drug toxicity and advancing our understanding of liver-related diseases.

Brief overview of research studies: liver-on-a-chip

Liver is essential to life and have great metabolic activity. Although its tissue is very regenerable, virus infections and chronic illnesses seriously harm it. A three-dimensional hepatic cell culture was created using a microfluidic device in order to study the interactions between hepatocytes. In order to examine the liver's interaction with and without flow, this liver-on-a-chip was able to support both monocultures and co-cultures of hepatocytes and hepatic stellate cells.18 The current review cites a number of additional research that use liver-on-a-chip technologies to conduct pharmacological analysis, toxicity and screening, pathophysiology, and human physiology.19

Currently available vivo models only mimic the end product, making it difficult to monitor metabolic function. Consequently, the ability to track the processes in a biological process is made possible by the integration of microfluidics devices, such as organs and sensors. The monitoring of the adaptation to mitochondrial malfunction has been made possible by the liver and sensor coupling in the research of Bavli et al.20 The sensor's purpose was to monitor lactate and glucose variations. A second micro-engineered liver chip was created to evaluate the toxicity of drugs. Rebuilding the hepatic sinusoid's three-dimensional cellular structure was the main goal of the project. The hepatocyte culture was extended for four weeks in order to assess new medicines for cytotoxicity.21

Design principles of heart-on-a-chip platforms1,15,16

This section delves into the core design principles underlying Heart -on-a-chip (HoC) platforms, including microfluidic systems, biomaterials, and the integration of relevant physiological factors such as mechanical forces and cell-cell interactions.

Microfluidic systems: Discusses the importance of microfluidic channels in replicating blood flow and nutrient delivery within the cardiac microenvironment.

Biomaterials: Explores the use of biomimetic materials that support cardiac cell adhesion, proliferation, and function, with a focus on mimicking the extracellular matrix.

Physiological factors: Covers the integration of mechanical forces, such as cyclic stretch, to mimic the physiological conditions of the beating heart, as well as the incorporation of multiple cell types for a more realistic cardiac tissue model.14

Applications in cardiotoxicity assessment

Heart-on-a-Chip technology in cardiotoxicity assessments include the study of drug-induced arrhythmias, evaluation of contractile function, and assessment of drug metabolism within cardiac tissues. Case studies and experimental outcomes are referenced to illustrate the utility of HoC models in predicting cardiotoxic responses accurately.1,15,16

Advancements and innovations

Recent advancements and innovations in Heart-on-a-Chip technology, including breakthroughs in microfabrication techniques, incorporation of sensors for real-time monitoring, and the development of more sophisticated 3D cardiac tissue models. Key references to groundbreaking studies showcase the state-of-the-art capabilities of HoC platforms.

Challenges and considerations

Challenges and considerations associated with Heart-on-a-Chip technology, such as the need for improved scalability, reproducibility, and standardization. References to recent publications and ongoing research initiatives provide insights into current obstacles and potential strategies for overcoming them.

Brief overview of research studies: heart-on-a-chip

Cardiovascular in vitro models typically produce a monolayer tissue culture inside a significant geometry and under static conditions. Given the typical principles that have already been covered, the tissue grows on a flat layer with random cell orientation and no flow conditions, producing a physiology that differs from that of in vivo settings. Similar settings were utilized in the early stages of heart-on-a-chip, the physiology was gradually improved.21 One of the most recent developments is a platform that supports a three-dimensional beating tissue made of human cardiomyocytes using micro-engineered cardiac tissues (μECTs). There was a high coupling response in both the mechanical and electrical responses.

The platform's mechanical stimulation during culture improved cell maturation and enhanced mechanical and electrical connection. Additionally, the apparatus was utilized to test various isoprenaline concentrations.22 Cell proliferation with excellent alignment and morphology is developed under the influence of perfusion conditions and microsystem geometry.23

Future perspectives

Organ-on-a-chip (OOC) technology, with its miniature organ models and microfluidic platforms, has emerged as a transformative force in toxicological research. OOC technology promises to users in, presenting a visionary outlook on its potential impact on the field of toxicology.10

Integration of artificial intelligence (AI)9

The convergence of OOC technology with artificial intelligence is poised to revolutionize data analysis and interpretation. AI algorithms can discern complex patterns and correlations within the vast datasets generated by OOC experiments, enhancing our ability to extract meaningful insights from intricate biological responses.

Advancement in organ complexity: The future holds the promise of developing more sophisticated OOC models that replicate the intricate structure and function of organs with even greater fidelity. Enhanced organ complexity will enable researchers to explore multi-organ interactions, providing a holistic understanding of systemic drug effects and toxicity.

Standardization of protocols

As OOC technology gains wider acceptance, the establishment of standardized protocols becomes imperative. Future efforts will focus on developing consensus guidelines for OOC experiments, fostering reproducibility, and facilitating cross-study comparisons. Standardization will bolster the credibility and reliability of OOC-based toxicological assessments.

High-throughput capabilities

OOC platforms are poised to evolve toward high-throughput capabilities, enabling the simultaneous screening of multiple compounds or interventions. This scalability will significantly accelerate the drug development process, allowing researchers to assess a broader spectrum of compounds in a time-efficient manner.

Personalized medicine applications

The integration of patient-specific cells into OOC models holds immense potential for personalized medicine. Future perspectives include the development of OOC platforms that faithfully replicate individual patient responses, allowing for tailored drug testing and toxicity assessments.17

Real-time monitoring with sensing technologies

Future OOC platforms will likely incorporate advanced sensing technologies for real-time monitoring of cellular responses. This continuous feedback loop will provide researchers with dynamic insights into drug-induced effects, enabling more precise and adaptive experimentation.

Ethical alternatives and reduced reliance on animal testing

OOC technology is poised to contribute significantly to the reduction of animal testing in toxicological studies. The future holds the promise of OOC platforms becoming ethical alternatives, providing human-relevant data that can replace or minimize the need for animal experimentation.10,17


The future of OOC technology in toxicology is characterized by a convergence of technological advancements, methodological standardization, and an increasing focus on personalized and efficient approaches. As "Revolutionizing Toxicology: Organ-on-a-Chip Insights in a Snapshot" captures this transformative journey, it serves as a compass guiding researchers toward a future where OOC technology plays a pivotal role in shaping the landscape of toxicological research.



Conflicts of interest

The author declares that there are no conflicts of interest.




  1. Paloschi V, Sabater-Lleal M, Middelkamp H, et al. Organ-on-a-chip technology: a novel approach to investigate cardiovascular diseases. Cardiovasc Res. 2021;117(14):2742–2754.
  2. Monteduro AG, Rizzato S, Caragnano G, et al. Organs-on-chips technologies - A guide from disease models to opportunities for drug development. Biosens Bioelectron. 2023;231:115271.
  3. Ingber DE. Human organs-on-chips for disease modelling, drug development and personalized medicine. Nat Rev Genet. 2022;23(8):467-491.
  4. Rothbauer M, Rosser JM, Zirath H, Ertl P. Tomorrow today: organ-on-a-chip advances towards clinically relevant pharmaceutical and medical in vitro models. Curr Opin Biotechnol. 2019;55:81–86.
  5. Wang Y, Gao Y, Pan Y, et al. Emerging trends in organ-on-a-chip systems for drug screening. Acta Pharm Sin B. 2023;13(6):2483-2509.
  6. Zhai J, Yi SH, Jia YW, et al. Cell-based drug screening on microfluidics. Trends Analyt Chem. 2019;117:231–241.
  7. Li J, Liang W, Chen Z, et al. OOCDB: A comprehensive, systematic, and real-time organs-on-a-chip database. Genomics Proteomics Bioinformatics. 2023;21(2):243-258.
  8. Yan J, Li Z, Guo J, et al. Organ-on-a-chip: a new tool for in vitro research. Biosens Bioelectron. 2022;216:114626.
  9. Deng S, Li C, Cao J, et al. Organ-on-a-chip meets artificial intelligence in drug evaluation. Theranostics. 2023;13(13):4526–4558.
  10. Sunildutt N, Parihar P, Chethikkattuveli Salih AR, et al. Revolutionizing drug development: harnessing the potential of organ-on-chip technology for disease modeling and drug discovery. Front Pharmacol. 2023;14:1139229.
  11. Gholizadeh H, Cheng S, Kourmatzis A, et al. Application of Micro-engineered kidney, liver, and respiratory system models to accelerate preclinical drug testing and development. Bioengineering (Basel). 2022;9(4):150.
  12. Nitsche KS, Müller I, Malcomber S, et al. Implementing organ-on-chip in a next-generation risk assessment of chemicals: a review. Arch Toxicol. 2022;96(3):711–741.
  13. Kanabekova P, Kadyrova A, Kulsharova G. Microfluidic organ-on-a-chip devices for liver disease modeling in vitroMicromachines (Basel). 2022;13(3):428.
  14. Kulsharova G, Kurmangaliyeva A. Liver microphysiological platforms for drug metabolism applications. Cell Prolif. 2021;54(9):e13099.
  15. Zheng F, Xiao Y, Liu H, et al. Patient-specific organoid and organ-on-a-chip: 3D cell-culture meets 3D printing and numerical simulation. Adv Biol (Weinh). 2021;5(6):e2000024.
  16. Deng J, Wei W, Chen Z, et al. Engineered liver-on-a-chip platform to mimic liver functions and its biomedical applications: a review. Micromachines (Basel). 2019;10(10):676.
  17. Singh D, Mathur A, Arora S, Roy S, Mahindroo N. Journey of organ on a chip technology and its role in future healthcare scenario. Applied Surface Science Advances. 2022;9:100246.
  18. Lee SA, No DY, Kang E, et al. Spheroid-based three-dimensional liver-on-a-chip to investigate hepatocyte–hepatic stellate cell interactions and flow effects. Lab Chip. 2013;13:3529–3537.
  19. Yoon No D, Lee KH, Lee J, et al. 3D liver models on a microplatform: well-defined culture, engineering of Liver tissue and liver-on-a-chip. Lab Chip. 2015;15:3822–3837.
  20. Bavli D, Prill S, Ezra E, et al. Real-Time monitoring of metabolic function in liver-on-chip microdevices tracks the dynamics of mitochondrial dysfunction. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2016;113:E2231–E2240.
  21. Jastrzebska E, Tomecka E, Jesion I. Heart-on-a-chip based on stem cell biology. Biosens. Bioelectron. 2016;75:67–81.
  22. Marsano A, Conficconi C, Lemme M, et al. Beating heart on a chip: a novel microfluidic platform to generate functional 3D cardiac microtissues. Lab Chip. 2016;16:599–610.
  23. Kobuszewska A, Tomecka E, Zukowski K, et al. Heart-on-a-chip: an investigation of the influence of static and perfusion conditions on cardiac (H9C2) cell proliferation, morphology, and alignment. SLAS Technol. 2017;22:536–546.
Creative Commons Attribution License

©2024 Kawadkar. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and build upon your work non-commercially.