The components of the brain can be cultured in vitro to simulate the physiological and electrical properties of the human brain. When cultured along with cell systems of the BBB, the movement of molecules and ions between the blood and the brain can be evaluated. Neurons from different regions or neuronal stem cells can be grown and differentiated to construct a functional three-dimensional brain unit.
Brain models on 2-D platforms prevent multiple cultures of brain cells and limit parameters like shear stress from being studied. In addition, animal models of neurological conditions, particularly Alzheimer’s Disease, are not completely comparable with human data and mostly provide end-point data. There is a lack of in vitro models that can demonstrate the disease progression of neurological conditions.
Culturing the brain on 3-D microfluidic models not only stimulates cells to adopt in vivo physiology and form organ-like structures but also provides a disease-modeling platform that can track ongoing pathology. Adding the BBB constructs a platform suitable for drug screening and development.