Human-on-Leaf-Chip: A Biomimetic Vascular System Integrated with Chamber-Specific Organs

Mao Mao, Ho Pan Bei, Chun Hei Lam, Pengyu Chen, Shuqi Wang, Ying Chen, Jiankang He, Xin Zhao

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

49 Citations (Scopus)


The vascular network is a central component of the organ-on-a-chip system to build a 3D physiological microenvironment with controlled physical and biochemical variables. Inspired by ubiquitous biological systems such as leaf venation and circulatory systems, a fabrication strategy is devised to develop a biomimetic vascular system integrated with freely designed chambers, which function as niches for chamber-specific vascularized organs. As a proof of concept, a human-on-leaf-chip system with biomimetic multiscale vasculature systems connecting the self-assembled 3D vasculatures in chambers is fabricated, mimicking the in vivo complex architectures of the human cardiovascular system connecting vascularized organs. Besides, two types of vascularized organs are built independently within the two halves of the system to verify its feasibility for conducting comparative experiments for organ-specific metastasis studies in a single chip. Successful culturing of human hepatoma G2 cells (HepG2s) and mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) with human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) shows good vasculature formation, and organ-specific metastasis is simulated through perfusion of pancreatic cancer cells and shows distinct cancer encapsulation by MSCs, which is absent in HepG2s. Given good culture efficacy, study design flexibility, and ease of modification, these results show that the bioinspired human-on-leaf-chip possesses great potential in comparative and metastasis studies while retaining organ-to-organ crosstalk.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2000546
Issue number22
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2020


  • cancer metastasis
  • microfluidics
  • organ-on-a-chip
  • vasculature

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biomaterials
  • General Chemistry
  • General Materials Science


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