Feto-Maternal Interface Organ-on-Chip: A New Technology to Study Ascending Infection

Giovana Fernanda Cosi Bento, Márcia Guimarães da Silva, Ramkumar Menon, Lauren S. Richardson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Modeling human pregnancy is challenging as two subjects, the mother and fetus, must be evaluated in tandem. To understand pregnancy, parturition, and adverse pregnancy outcomes, the two feto-maternal interfaces (FMi) that form during gestation (i.e., the placenta and fetal membrane) need to be investigated to understand their biological roles, and organ dysfunction can lead to adverse outcomes. Adverse pregnancy outcomes such as preterm rupture of the membranes, spontaneous preterm birth, preeclampsia, intra-uterine growth restriction, and gestational diabetes rates are on the rise worldwide, highlighting the need for future studies and a better understanding of molecular and cellular pathways that contribute to disease onset. Current in vivo animal models nor in vitro cell culture systems can answer these questions as they do not model the function or structure of human FMis. Utilizing microfabrication and soft-lithography techniques, microfluidic organ-on-chip (OOC) devices have been adapted by many fields to model the anatomy and biological function of complex organs and organ systems within small in vitro platforms. These techniques have been adapted to recreate the fetal membrane FMi (FMi-OOC) using immortalized cells and collagen derived from patient samples. The FMi-OOC is a four-cell culture chamber, concentric circle system, that contains both fetal (amniochorion) and maternal (decidua) cellular layers and has been validated to model physiological and pathological states of pregnancy (i.e., ascending infection, systemic oxidative stress, and maternal toxicant exposure). This platform is fully compatible with various analytical methods such as microscopy and biochemical analysis. This protocol will outline this device’s fabrication, cell loading, and utility to model ascending infection-related adverse pregnancy outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMethods in Molecular Biology
PublisherHumana Press Inc.
Number of pages13
StatePublished - 2024

Publication series

NameMethods in Molecular Biology
ISSN (Print)1064-3745
ISSN (Electronic)1940-6029


  • Amnion epithelial cell
  • Amnion mesenchymal cell
  • Ascending infection
  • Cell culture
  • Chorion trophoblast cell
  • Decidual cell
  • Feto-maternal interface
  • Organ-on-chip

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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