Cerebral organoids are composed of several types of human neuronal cells, mainly astrocytes, oligodendrocytes and neurons, which self-organize in 3D. These three-dimensional multicellular structures create cellular interactions and maturation relevant to human pathophysiology. However, despite their relevance, they are currently complex models to implement with significant variability in terms of maturation, morphology and size. Brain organoids are complex and advanced models that allow to model the fine mechanisms of action involved in neurotoxicology. To model the neurotoxicity of a drug candidate, a toxin or a pesticide, it seems relevant to co-cultivate a brain organoid with cells of the blood-brain barrier (BBB). The BBB, composed of astrocytes, vascular cells and pericytes, protects the brain from the peripheral environment.

We are developing at NETRI a microfluidic device with 2 compartments separated by a porous membrane that mimics the biological function of the BBB. Composed of a 3D deposition chamber, specially designed to receive an organoid, a porous membrane and a perfusion channel, specially designed to increase the supply of nutrients to the center of the organoid, this microfluidic device will allow to test the passage of a drug candidate, toxin or pesticide from the peripheral environment to the brain and back.