Issue 5, 2015

A lung-on-a-chip array with an integrated bio-inspired respiration mechanism


We report a lung-on-a-chip array that mimics the pulmonary parenchymal environment, including the thin alveolar barrier and the three-dimensional cyclic strain induced by breathing movements. The micro-diaphragm used to stretch the alveolar barrier is inspired by the in vivo diaphragm, the main muscle responsible for inspiration. The design of this device aims not only at best reproducing the in vivo conditions found in the lung parenchyma but also at making the device robust and its handling easy. An innovative concept, based on the reversible bonding of the device, is presented that enables accurate control of the concentration of cells cultured on the membrane by easily accessing both sides of the membranes. The functionality of the alveolar barrier could be restored by co-culturing epithelial and endothelial cells that form tight monolayers on each side of a thin, porous and stretchable membrane. We showed that cyclic stretch significantly affects the permeability properties of epithelial cell layers. Furthermore, we also demonstrated that the strain influences the metabolic activity and the cytokine secretion of primary human pulmonary alveolar epithelial cells obtained from patients. These results demonstrate the potential of this device and confirm the importance of the mechanical strain induced by breathing in pulmonary research.

Graphical abstract: A lung-on-a-chip array with an integrated bio-inspired respiration mechanism

Supplementary files

Article information

Article type
21 Oct 2014
03 Dec 2014
First published
03 Dec 2014
This article is Open Access
Creative Commons BY license

Lab Chip, 2015,15, 1302-1310

Author version available

A lung-on-a-chip array with an integrated bio-inspired respiration mechanism

A. O. Stucki, J. D. Stucki, S. R. R. Hall, M. Felder, Y. Mermoud, R. A. Schmid, T. Geiser and O. T. Guenat, Lab Chip, 2015, 15, 1302 DOI: 10.1039/C4LC01252F

This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported Licence. You can use material from this article in other publications without requesting further permissions from the RSC, provided that the correct acknowledgement is given.

Read more about how to correctly acknowledge RSC content.

Social activity