Development of white (WAT) and brown (BAT) adipose tissue-on-a-chip systems (WAT & BAT-on-a-chip)
Fraunhofer IGB, Stuttgart, Germany; Eberhard Karls University Tübingen, Germany; UC Berkeley, CA, USA
Obesity and diabetes research, drug development
White adipose tissue (WAT) makes up about one fifth of a healthy adult’s body mass. Besides being the main storage depot for excess dietary energy, WAT is also recognized as the largest endocrine gland in the human body regulating metabolic events like appetite or satiety. Consequently, abnormal WAT function is a risk factor for metabolic disorders such as obesity or type 2 diabetes. Moreover, it is of utmost importance when it comes to drug testing since it is capable of manipulating the mode of action and consequentially the efficacy of drugs. Yet, despite its significance, WAT is frequently underestimated, and there is still plenty of research to be done on the underlying mechanisms associating WAT to human pathophysiology. We therefore developed a human microphysiological system (MPS) featuring 3D vascularized adipose tissue. The potential applications of our developed WAT-on-a-Chip systems are eminently multifarious and expand from individual or multi-organ-integration drug testing platforms to possibilities of disease modelling and personalized medicine.