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Functional characterization of a novel 3D model of the epithelial-mesenchymal trophic unit

  • Autori: Bucchieri F, Pitruzzella A, Fucarino A, Gammazza AM, Bavisotto CC, Marcianò V, Cajozzo M, Lo Iacono G, Marchese R, Zummo G, Holgate ST, Davies, DE
  • Anno di pubblicazione: 2017
  • Tipologia: Articolo in rivista (Articolo in rivista)
  • OA Link:


Abstract BACKGROUND/AIM: Epithelial-mesenchymal communication plays a key role in tissue homeostasis and abnormal signaling contributes to chronic airways disease such as COPD. Most in vitro models are limited in complexity and poorly represent this epithelial-mesenchymal trophic unit. We postulated that cellular outgrowth from bronchial tissue would enable development of a mucosal structure that recapitulates better in vivo tissue architecture. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Bronchial tissue was embedded in Matrigel and outgrowth cultures monitored using time-lapse microscopy, electrical resistance, light and electron microscopy. Cultures were challenged repetitively with cigarette smoke extract (CSE). RESULTS: The outgrowths formed as a multicellular sheet with motile cilia becoming evident as the Matrigel was remodeled to provide an air interface; cultures were viable for more than one year. Immunofluorescence and electron microscopy (EM) identified an upper layer of mucociliary epithelium and a lower layer of highly organized extracellular matrix (ECM) interspersed with fibroblastic cells separated by a basement membrane. EM analysis of the mucosal construct after repetitive exposure to CSE revealed epithelial damage, loss of cilia, and ECM remodeling, as occurs in vivo. CONCLUSIONS: We have developed a robust bronchial mucosal model. The structural changes observed following CSE exposure suggest the model should have utility for drug discovery and preclinical testing, especially those targeting airway remodeling.