Microphysiologic systems in female reproductive biology

Alexandria N. Young, Georgette Moyle-Heyrman, J. Julie Kim, Joanna E. Burdette*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Microphysiologic systems (MPS), including new organ-on-a-chip technologies, recapitulate tissue microenvironments by employing specially designed tissue or cell culturing techniques and microfluidic flow. Such systems are designed to incorporate physiologic factors that conventional 2D or even 3D systems cannot, such as the multicellular dynamics of a tissue–tissue interface or physical forces like fluid sheer stress. The female reproductive system is a series of interconnected organs that are necessary to produce eggs, support embryo development and female health, and impact the functioning of non-reproductive tissues throughout the body. Despite its importance, the human reproductive tract has received less attention than other organ systems, such as the liver and kidney, in terms of modeling with MPS. In this review, we discuss current gaps in the field and areas for technological advancement through the application of MPS. We explore current MPS research in female reproductive biology, including fertilization, pregnancy, and female reproductive tract diseases, with a focus on their clinical applications. Impact statement: This review discusses existing microphysiologic systems technology that may be applied to study of the female reproductive tract, and those currently in development to specifically investigate gametes, fertilization, embryo development, pregnancy, and diseases of the female reproductive tract. We focus on the clinical applicability of these new technologies in fields such as assisted reproductive technologies, drug testing, disease diagnostics, and personalized medicine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1690-1700
Number of pages11
JournalExperimental Biology and Medicine
Issue number17
StatePublished - Nov 1 2017


  • Microphysiologic systems
  • female reproductive tract
  • microfluidic systems
  • organ on a chip
  • personalized medicine
  • reproductive biology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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