Microfluidic simulation provides new platform for drug tests

Scientists in South Korea have made a device to model the impact alcohol has on the liver.

Sang-Hoon Lee, from Korea University in Seoul, and colleagues, built their 3D simulation by combining microfluidic technology with primary hepatocytes and hepatic stellate cells, two types of liver cell. By exposing the model to various concentrations of ethanol over 48 hours, the team mapped any structural or functional changes in the microtissues. When investigating the reversibility of alcoholic liver disease on their model, the team found that when exposed to 60µl/ml alcohol the effects were reversible, but exposure to 80µl/ml alcohol rendered the damage irreversible.  

The team report that this versatile model could find use in drug- and toxicity-screens as well as provide further details on the mechanism of alcoholic liver disease.