The female reproductive tract produces hormones for reproductive function and cardiovascular, bone and sexual health; the tract supplies a finite number of gametes, and it supports fetal development. Diseases that affect each of the female reproductive tract organs, along with treatments that have direct, deleterious effects on the reproductive tract (for example, chemotherapeutics), are understudied due to the lack of model systems that phenocopy in vivo function. This review describes a path toward developing female reproductive tract mimics. The models use isolated primary support cells cultured onto a biological scaffold and within a microfluidic system to create a niche and support the desired differentiation of epithelia, germ and somatic cells from patient-derived induced pluripotent stem cells. Improving our fund of knowledge about reproductive tract biology and creating reproductive organs for patients who have lost gonadal, uterine or vaginal/ cervical function is a major step forward in women's health and an important advancement in personalized medicine.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Medicine (miscellaneous)
- Molecular Medicine
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (miscellaneous)
- Cell Biology