Lab-on-a-chip platforms for quantification of multicellular interactions in bone remodeling

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Researchers have been using lab-on-a-chip systems to isolate factors for study, simulate laboratory analysis and model cellular, tissue and organ level processes. The technology is increasing rapidly, but the bone field has been slow to keep pace. Novel models are needed that have the power and flexibility to investigate the elegant and synchronous multicellular interactions that occur in normal bone turnover and in disease states in which remodeling is implicated. By removing temporal and spatial limitations and enabling quantification of functional outcomes, the platforms should provide unique environments that are more biomimetic than single cell type systems while minimizing complex systemic effects of in vivo models. This manuscript details the development and characterization of lab-on-a-chip platforms for stimulating osteocytes and quantifying bone remodeling. Our platforms provide the foundation for a model that can be used to investigate remodeling interactions as a whole or as a standard mechanotransduction tool by which isolated activity can be quantified as a function of load.HighlightsMicrochips are developed for stimulating bone cells and quantifying activity.A chip permits osteocyte loading and soluble signal analysis.A chip enables quantification of bone resorption and formation.This model may remove spatial and temporal limitations of existing systems.This microfluidic approach shows promise for future discovery in the bone field.

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