Recent developments in microfluidic technologies for central nervous system targeted studies

Maria Ines de Azevedo Freitas Teixeira, Maria Helena Amaral , Paulo C. Costa , Carla M Lopes, Dimitrios Lamprou*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)
2 Downloads (Pure)


Neurodegenerative diseases (NDs) bear a lot of weight in public health. By studying the properties of the blood-brain barrier (BBB) and its fundamental interactions with the central nervous system (CNS), it is possible to improve the understanding of the pathological mechanisms behind these disorders and create new and better strategies to improve bioavailability and therapeutic efficiency, such as nanocarriers. Microfluidics is an intersectional field with many applications. Microfluidic systems can be an invaluable tool to accurately simulate the BBB microenvironment, as well as develop, in a reproducible manner, drug delivery systems with well-defined physicochemical characteristics. This review provides an overview of the most recent advances on microfluidic devices for CNS-targeted studies. Firstly, the importance of the BBB will be addressed, and different experimental BBB models will be briefly discussed. Subsequently, microfluidic-integrated BBB models (BBB/brain-on-a-chip) are introduced and the state of the art reviewed, with special emphasis on their use to study NDs. Additionally, the microfluidic preparation of nanocarriers and other compounds for CNS delivery has been covered. The last section focuses on current challenges and future perspectives of microfluidic experimentation.
Original languageEnglish
Article number542
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jun 2020


  • Neurodegenerative
  • brain delivery
  • Blood-Brain Barrier
  • Nanotechnology
  • Nanoparticles
  • Nanomedicine
  • Microfluidics
  • Lab-On-A-Chip Devices
  • drug delivery
  • organ-on-a-chip


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