Bone Marrow-On-A-Chip Replicates Hematopoietic Niche Physiology In Vitro

Published in: Nature Methods Vol. 11 No. 6

Current in vitro hematopoiesis models fail to demonstrate the cellular diversity and complex functions of living bone marrow; hence, most translational studies relevant to the hematologic system are conducted in live animals. Here we describe a method for fabricating ‘bone marrow–on–a–chip’ that permits culture of living marrow with a functional hematopoietic niche in vitro by first engineering new bone in vivo, removing it whole and perfusing it with culture medium in a microfluidic device. The engineered bone marrow (eBM) retains hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells in normal in vivo–like proportions for at least 1 week in culture. eBM models organ-level marrow toxicity responses and protective effects of radiation countermeasure drugs, whereas conventional bone marrow culture methods do not. This biomimetic microdevice offers a new approach for analysis of drug responses and toxicities in bone marrow as well as for study of hematopoiesis and hematologic diseases in vitro.