The kidney exists in a dynamic microenvironment, depending on molecular and pressure gradients to function. Since the kidney is largely involved in hemodynamics, it also plays a critical role in the excretion/clearance of drug compounds. Because of this, in vitro models that account for dynamic fluid flow provide the most suitable platform for cells to exhibit tissue-like properties.
Due to the complexity of the cell systems and functional roles of the kidney, current static, 2-D culture systems limit renal cell growth . Cells grown in these culture conditions make it difficult to screen drugs that may be nephrotoxic due to their low functionality. Translating data from these in vitro models to animal or human testing also creates gaps in knowledge.
The dynamic flow delivered by microfluidic models promotes kidney cell cytostructure and tight junctions to form organs. The 3-D aspect of these models also facilitates renal cells to form with improved morphology compared to static, two-dimensional models.