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Kidney-on-a-Chip: A New Technology for Predicting Drug Efficacy, Interactions, and Drug-induced Nephrotoxicity

[ Vol. 19 , Issue. 7 ]


Jeonghwan Lee and Sejoong Kim*   Pages 577 - 583 ( 7 )


Background: Kidney dysfunction resulting from various drugs is an important issue during the drug development process. Traditional in vivo animal experiments are limited with respect to evaluating drug efficacy and nephrotoxicity due to discrepancies in drug pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics between humans and animals, and static cell culture experiments cannot fully reflect the actual microphysiological environment in humans.

Method: In this review article, authors collected manually relevant bibliographic databases including journal articles and textbooks related to microfluidics, kidney-on-a-chip, and drug screening and interaction. In this review, we discuss recent developments in microfluidic culturing technique and describe current and future kidney-on-a-chip applications.

Results: The pharmacodynamic and pathophysiological responses of cells are more realistic in microfluidic or 3D culture systems than in conventional 2D culture systems. Recently, several types of kidney-on-a-chip have been developed that reflect the microenvironment of the kidney tubule and have been shown to better reflect actual in-vivo results of drug nephrotoxicity. Using kidney-on-a-chip, investigators can measure various drug-induced biological responses. In the future, it is expected that a multi-organ chip will be utilized to examine the interaction between kidney and other organs, and kidney-on-a-chip can be used in disease modeling and the development of new renal replacement therapy.

Conclusions: Using kidney-on-a-chip, researchers can create experimental environments resembling the physiological environments in human organs and obtain experimental results that better reflect human physiology. Kidney-ona- chip can be used to overcome the drawbacks of traditional animal models and to more effectively identify drug effects, interactions, and drug-induced nephrotoxicity.


Organ chip, kidney-on-a-chip, drug nephrotoxicity, acute kidney injury, microfluidics, drug evaluation.


Department of Internal Medicine, Hallym University Hangang Sacred Heart Hospital, Seoul, Department of Internal Medicine, Seoul National University Bundang Hospital, Seongnam

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