The tumour microenvironment is very complex, and essential in tumour development and drug resistance. The endothelium is critical in the tumour microenvironment: it provides nutrients and oxygen to the tumour and is essential for systemic drug delivery. Therefore, we report a simple, user-friendly microfluidic device for co-culture of a 3D breast tumour model and a 2D endothelium model for cross-talk and drug delivery studies. First, we demonstrated the endothelium was functional, whereas the tumour model exhibited in vivo features, e.g., oxygen gradients and preferential proliferation of cells with better access to nutrients and oxygen. Next, we observed the endothelium structure lost its integrity in the co-culture. Following this, we evaluated two drug formulations of TRAIL (TNF-related apoptosis inducing ligand): soluble and anchored to a LUV (large unilamellar vesicle). Both diffused through the endothelium, LUV-TRAIL being more efficient in killing tumour cells, showing no effect on the integrity of endothelium. Overall, we have developed a simple capillary force-based microfluidic device for 2D and 3D cell co-cultures. Our device allows high-throughput approaches, patterning different cell types and generating gradients without specialised equipment. We anticipate this microfluidic device will facilitate drug screening in a relevant microenvironment thanks to its simple, effective and user-friendly operation.
- microfluidics, tumor on a chip, 3D models, endothelium, drug delivery
Virumbrales-Munoz, M., Ayuso, J. M., Olave, M., Monge, R., de Miguel, D., Martinez-Lostao, L., ... Fernandez, L. J. (2017). Multiwell capillarity-based microfluidic device for the study of 3D tumour tissue-2D endothelium interactions and drug screening in co-culture model. Scientific reports, 7, . https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-017-12049-4