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Your Environment. Your Health.

3-D Model Simulates Female Reproductive Tract and Menstrual Cycle

Teresa Woodruff, Ph.D.
Northwestern University

A new miniature 3-D model of the female reproductive tract and menstrual cycle can be used to study the effects of chemicals and drugs on the female reproductive system. NIEHS grantees developed the model, which fits in the palm of the hand and mimics a normal 28-day hormone cycle.

The new device, termed EVATAR, involves human tissue and 3-D models of the ovaries, fallopian tubes, uterus, cervix, vagina, and liver. A fluid and pumping method simulates the flow of blood between each of the organ systems. The organ models communicate with each other via secreted substances, such as hormones, replicating how organs work together in the body. EVATAR can be used to test secretion of hormones and interactions between organs during month-long experiments.

According to the authors, EVATAR will also help scientists understand endometriosis, fibroids, cancer, infertility, and other hormone-related diseases of the female reproductive tract. Because human tissue is integrated into the model, the system could potentially offer reproductive models to test individual differences in responses to drug treatments and susceptibility to chemicals.

Citation: Xiao S, Coppeta JR, Rogers HB, Isenberg BC, Zhu J, Olalekan SA, McKinnon KE, Dokic D, Rashedi AS, Haisenleder DJ, Malpani SS, Arnold-Murray CA, Chen K, Jiang M, Bai L, Nguyen CT, Zhang J, Laronda MM, Hope TJ, Maniar KP, Pavone ME, Avram MJ, Sefton EC, Getsios S, Burdette JE, Kim JJ, Borenstein JT, Woodruff TK. 2017. A microfluidic culture model of the human reproductive tract and 28-day menstrual cycle. Nat Commun 8:14584.

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