Bone-on-a-Chip: Microfluidic Technologies and Microphysiologic Models of Bone Tissue

Amin Mansoorifar, Ryan Gordon, Raymond C. Bergan, Luiz E. Bertassoni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


Bone is an active organ that continuously undergoes an orchestrated process of remodeling throughout life. Bone tissue is uniquely capable of adapting to loading, hormonal, and other changes happening in the body, as well as repairing bone that becomes damaged to maintain tissue integrity. On the other hand, diseases such as osteoporosis and metastatic cancers disrupt normal bone homeostasis leading to compromised function. Historically, the ability to investigate processes related to either physiologic or diseased bone tissue is limited by traditional models that fail to emulate the complexity of native bone. Organ-on-a-chip models are based on technological advances in tissue engineering and microfluidics, enabling the reproduction of key features specific to tissue microenvironments within a microfabricated device. Compared to conventional in vitro and in vivo bone models, microfluidic models, and especially organ-on-a-chip platforms, provide more biomimetic tissue culture conditions, with increased predictive power for clinical assays. In this review, microfluidic and organ-on-a-chip technologies designed for understanding the biology of bone as well as bone-related diseases and treatments are reported. Finally, the authors discuss the limitations of the current models and point toward future directions for microfluidics and organ-on-a-chip technologies in bone research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2006796
JournalAdvanced Functional Materials
Issue number6
StatePublished - Feb 3 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • bone
  • cancer metastasis
  • microfluidic
  • organ on-a-chip

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • General Chemistry
  • Biomaterials
  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Electrochemistry


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