Research mechanisms of neuroinflammation and evaluate the effect of therapeutics in a comprehensive model of the neurovascular unit

Brain‑Chip Overview

Brain physiology is highly complex and species-specific

Conventional cell models fail to recreate the required complexity, while animal models often fail to translate to human response due to species differences. The Emulate Brain-Chip is the most comprehensive in vitro model of the human neurovascular unit for preclinical research, with five cell types in a dynamic and tunable microenvironment. The Brain-Chip can be applied to investigate mechanisms of neuroinflammation and evaluate the efficacy of drug candidates.


The most comprehensive human neuro-vascular unit model

The Brain-Chip overcomes the limitations of other methods of studying the brain, providing a far more physiologically relevant model. Unlike other in vitro models such as organoids and conventional cell cultures, this ‘Brain-on-a-Chip’ model demonstrates morphological and functional characteristics of cortical brain tissue, incorporating both neuronal cells and an endothelial-like barrier in a single model.


Multicellular complexity drives improved neuron function

Unlike conventional cell cultures with limited cell types, the Brain-Chip contains five human cell types: neurons, astrocytes, pericytes, microglia, and brain microvascular endothelial-like cells.

Best-in-class neurovascular unit barrier modeling

The Brain-Chip demonstrates stable, long-term, and low barrier permeability in line with in vivo values due to the incorporation of media flow and supportive cells including microglia and astrocytes.

Improved gene expression

Brain-Chip transcriptomic profiling displays enrichment of key neurobiological pathways and closer overlap to in vivo adult cortex as compared to Transwell brain models, the most commonly used in vitro brain culture models.

Dynamic microenvironment with relevant microvascular endothelial like-cells

Flow improves functionality in cells to exhibit in vivo-like behavior. Static cell culture and organoids lack shear stress, impacting cell differentiation and ability for long-term culture.

Stable functionality

Characteristic morphology, gene expression, and functionality are maintained up to seven days of culture, unlike Transwell models which gradually lose functionality over this period.

A human-based model

As a human-based model, the Brain-Chip can help researchers mitigate preclinical-to-clinical translational issues often seen in animal models.

Application: Neuroinflammation

Neuroinflammation offers a rich set of therapeutic targets, but remains a challenge to model

Despite decades of research, modeling the complexity of neuroinflammation remains a challenge. Animal models fail to predict human responses due to species differences, and conventional in vitro models lack the necessary cellular complexity and microenvironment to model inflammation effectively.


A new standard for investigating neuroinflammatory pathogenesis and therapeutic efficacy

The Brain-Chip is a comprehensive model of the neurovascular unit with in vivo-like gene expression. By including key morphological and functional characteristics of brain tissue and the blood-brain barrier together in a dynamic environment, the Brain-Chip allows researchers to study the effect of neuroinflammation across the entire neurovascular unit. Exposure to inflammatory stimuli results in the recreation of key features of neuroinflammation, including:

  • Significant enrichment of gene pathways related to inflammation
  • Astrogliosis and microglial activation
  • Secretion of proinflammatory cytokines
  • Increased barrier permeability

Part of the Human Emulation System®

The Human Emulation System is comprised of instruments, consumables, and software in a flexible, open format. The user-friendly platform gives researchers a window into the inner workings of human biology.

Get Started Today

Experience the predictive power of Brain-on-a-Chip technology. Gain deeper insights by incorporating the Brain-Chip in your lab workflow or having our team of scientists design and execute a study to meet your needs.


Convenient kits with chips, reagents, and qualified cells.


Standard services and custom collaboration projects available.

Basic Kit

Includes chips and reagents for use with customer cell sourcing.


Technical Note: Brain-Chip Characterization

See the data showing how the Brain-Chip emulates morphological and functional characteristics of cortical brain tissue.