Regeneration and functional recovery of the damaged nerve are challenging due to the need for effective therapeutic drugs, biomaterials, and approaches. The poor outcome of the treatment of nerve injury stems from the incomplete understanding of axonal biology and interactions between neurons and the surrounding environment, such as glial cells and extracellular matrix. Microfluidic devices, in combination with various injury techniques, have been applied to test biological hypotheses in nerve injury and nerve regeneration. The microfluidic devices provide multiple advantages over the in vitro cell culture on a petri dish and in vivo animal models because a specific part of the neuronal environment can be manipulated using physical and chemical interventions. In addition, single-cell behavior and interactions between neurons and glial cells can be visualized and quantified on microfluidic platforms. In this article, current in vitro nerve injury models on a chip that mimics in vivo axonal injuries and the regeneration process of axons are summarized. The microfluidic-based nerve injury models could enhance the understanding of the physiological and pathophysiological mechanisms of nerve tissues and simultaneously serve as powerful drug and biomaterial screening platforms.
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