Emerging microfluidics-enabled platforms for osteoarthritis management: From benchtop to bedside

Zhou Zou, Xiaohe Luo, Zhengkun Chen, Yu Shrike Zhang, Chunyi Wen

Research output: Journal article publicationReview articleAcademic researchpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Osteoarthritis (OA) is a prevalent debilitating age-related joint degenerative disease. It is a leading cause of pain and functional disability in older adults. Unfortunately, there is no cure for OA once the damage is established. Therefore, it promotes an urgent need for early detection and intervention of OA. Theranostics, combining therapy and diagnosis, emerges as a promising approach for OA management. However, OA theranostics is still in its infancy. Three fundamental needs have to be firstly fulfilled: i) a reliable OA model for disease pathogenesis investigation and drug screening, ii) an effective and precise diagnostic platform, and iii) an advanced fabrication approach for drug delivery and therapy. Meanwhile, microfluidics emerges as a versatile technology to address each of the needs and eventually boost the development of OA theranostics. Therefore, this review focuses on the applications of microfluidics, from benchtop to bedside, for OA modelling and drug screening, early diagnosis, and clinical therapy. We first introduce the basic pathophysiology of OA and point out the major unfilled research gaps in current OA management including lack of disease modelling and drug screening platforms, early diagnostic modalities and disease-modifying drugs and delivery approaches. Accordingly, we then summarize the state-of-the-art microfluidics technology for OA management from in vitro modelling and diagnosis to therapy. Given the existing promising results, we further discuss the future development of microfluidic platforms towards clinical translation at the crossroad of engineering and biomedicine.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)891-909
Number of pages19
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2022


  • Biosensor
  • Intra-articular injection
  • Microfluidics
  • Organ-on-a-chip
  • Osteoarthritis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics (miscellaneous)


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