A microfluidic device with 3-D hydrogel villi scaffold to simulate intestinal absorption

Si Hyeon Kim, Jung Woo Lee, Inwook Choi, Young Chan Kim, Jong Bum Lee, Jong Hwan Sung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


The absorption of drugs via oral route is a subject of a great interest in drug development process. The current in vitro method for measuring the kinetics of drug absorption relies on 2-D monolayer culture of Caco-2 cells on a porous membrane, but physiologically unrealistic environment provided by this method often results in inaccurate drug absorption kinetics. Here we report a novel microfluidic system which better mimics the physiological environment of the human small intestine. Three dimensional geometries of villi of the small intestine were reproduced via novel hydrogel microfabrication technique, and the fluid flow in the apical and basolateral sides of intestinal tract was reproduced with a two-layer microfluidic device. A wide range of flow rates was achieved by using gravity-induced flow, potentially facilitating easier high-throughput implementation. The kinetics of diffusion process through the 3-D villi scaffold in the microfluidic device was measured and mathematically modeled. When combined with intestinal cell culture model, this novel 3-D microfluidic system can serve as an in vitro platform that better mimics the in vivo environment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7220-7228
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2013


  • 3-D hydrogel scaffold
  • Gastrointestinal absorption
  • Microfluidic


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