Periodic Reporting for period 2 - EpiCBiome (Development of an innovative Airway-on-Chip microbiome cell culture model to investigate host-microbiome interactions at the airway epithelial surface)
Okres sprawozdawczy: 2019-03-01 do 2020-02-29
Original aim and objectives: This proposal is focused on the airway epithelium, a layer that lines the airways and plays a central role in protection against infection and regulating inflammation. The project aimed to develop an innovative human state-of-the-art Airway Lung-Chip microbiota co-culture model and use this model to investigate the interaction of the airway epithelium with the microbiota in a healthy and diseased environment and investigate how these interactions contribute to susceptibility for infection. This knowledge will be of significant importance to elucidate the mechanisms that underlie the observed changes in airway epithelial composition and airway microbiota composition in patients with COPD. This knowledge could be applied to future research efforts that will contribute to the development of more effective healthcare strategies for COPD.
Conclusions: Optimized protocols for co-culturing airway epithelial cells and endothelial cells in the Airway Lung-Chip have been developed, however not in co-culture with microbes yet. In addition, the researcher obtained extensive training, skills and expertise in Organ-Chip technology. This chip platform is now operational in the laboratory of the researcher, and therefore this final part of the optimization will be anticipated in the near future. Importantly, a co-culture model was developed on Transwells (a less complex model, in contrast to chips) with human airway epithelial cells and microbiota. Results from explorative experiments in this model showed that impairing differentiation of the airway epithelium significantly changes the interaction with the microbiota: cell cultures of which the airway epithelium had an altered (diseased) composition, displayed higher numbers of bacteria, quicker outgrowth and higher levels of pro-inflammatory mediator production.
Taken together, this ambitious project has shown an important proof-of-principle for the development of complex microbiota-containing lung epithelial cell cultures. This is important because both the Organ-Chip field and the airway microbiota field are young developing research fields. In addition, the project has advanced the career of the researcher to an independent, tenured position, allowing further expansion of the developed research lines.