Human Microphysiological Models of Intestinal Tissue and Gut Microbiome



Steinway SN, Saleh J, Koo BK, Delacour D, Kim DH



Front Bioeng Biotechnol.

2020 Jul 31


The gastrointestinal (GI) tract is a complex system responsible for nutrient absorption, digestion, secretion, and elimination of waste products that also hosts immune surveillance, the intestinal microbiome, and interfaces with the nervous system. Traditional in vitro systems cannot harness the architectural and functional complexity of the GI tract. Recent advances in organoid engineering, microfluidic organs-on-a-chip technology, and microfabrication allows us to create better in vitro models of human organs/tissues. These micro-physiological systems could integrate the numerous cell types involved in GI development and physiology, including intestinal epithelium, endothelium (vascular), nerve cells, immune cells, and their interplay/cooperativity with the microbiome. In this review, we report recent progress in developing micro-physiological models of the GI systems. We also discuss how these models could be used to study normal intestinal physiology such as nutrient absorption, digestion, and secretion as well as GI infection, inflammation, cancer, and metabolism.