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Modeling Human HSV Infection via a Vascularized Immune-Competent Skin-On-Chip Platform

By September 26, 2022No Comments

Herpes simplex virus (HSV) naturally infects skin and mucosal surfaces, causing lifelong recurrent disease worldwide, with no cure or vaccine. Biomimetic human tissue and organ platforms provide attractive alternatives over animal models to recapitulate human diseases. Combining prevascularization and microfluidic approaches, we present a vascularized, three-dimensional skin-on-chip that mimics human skin architecture and is competent to immune-cell and drug perfusion. The endothelialized microvasculature embedded in a fibroblast-containing dermis responds to biological stimulation, while the cornified epidermis functions as a protective barrier. HSV infection of the skin-on-chip displays tissue-level key morphological and pathophysiological features typical of genital herpes infection in humans, including the production of proinflammatory cytokine IL-8, which triggers rapid neutrophil trans-endothelial extravasation and directional migration. Importantly, perfusion with the antiviral drug acyclovir inhibits HSV infection in a dose-dependent and time-sensitive manner. Thus, our vascularized skin-on-chip represents a promising platform for human HSV disease modeling and preclinical therapeutic evaluation.