An important number of healthy and diseased tissues shows spatial variations in their metabolic capacities across the tissue. The liver is a prime example of such heterogeneity where the gradual changes in various metabolic activities across the liver sinusoid is termed as "zonation" of the liver. Here, we introduce the Metabolic Patterning on a Chip (MPOC) platform capable of dynamically creating metabolic patterns across the length of a microchamber of liver tissue via actively enforced gradients of various metabolic modulators such as hormones and inducers. Using this platform, we were able to create continuous liver tissues of both rat and human origin with gradually changing metabolic activities. The gradients we have created in nitrogen, carbohydrate and xenobiotic metabolisms recapitulated an in vivo like zonation and zonal toxic response. Beyond its application in recapitulation of liver zonation in vitro as we demonstrate here, the MPOC platform can be used and expanded for a variety of purposes including better understanding of heterogeneity in many different tissues during developmental and adult stages.
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