Modeling Barrier Tissues In Vitro: Methods, Achievements, and Challenges

Courtney M. Sakolish, Mandy B. Esch, James J. Hickman, Michael L. Shuler, Gretchen J. Mahler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

41 Scopus citations


Organ-on-a-chip devices have gained attention in the field of in vitro modeling due to their superior ability in recapitulating tissue environments compared to traditional multiwell methods. These constructed growth environments support tissue differentiation and mimic tissue-tissue, tissue-liquid, and tissue-air interfaces in a variety of conditions. By closely simulating the in vivo biochemical and biomechanical environment, it is possible to study human physiology in an organ-specific context and create more accurate models of healthy and diseased tissues, allowing for observations in disease progression and treatment. These chip devices have the ability to help direct, and perhaps in the distant future even replace animal-based drug efficacy and toxicity studies, which have questionable relevance to human physiology. Here, we review recent developments in the in vitro modeling of barrier tissue interfaces with a focus on the use of novel and complex microfluidic device platforms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
StateAccepted/In press - Dec 28 2015



  • Barrier tissues
  • Drug discovery
  • In vitro modeling
  • Microfluidic technologies
  • Microphysiological systems
  • Organ-on-a-chip

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

Sakolish, C. M., Esch, M. B., Hickman, J. J., Shuler, M. L., & Mahler, G. J. (Accepted/In press). Modeling Barrier Tissues In Vitro: Methods, Achievements, and Challenges. EBioMedicine.