Michigan, Georgia Tech and Yale collaborate on a novel way to culture cells to investigate matrix contributions to lung pathology

Dr. Eric White and colleagues from the University of Michigan, Georgia Institute of Technology and Yale University have reported the use acellular normal and fibrotic human lung matrices as a culture system for in vitro investigation in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

Extracellular matrix (ECM) is a dynamic tissue that contributes to organ integrity and function, and its regulation of cell phenotype is a major aspect of biology.  However, the standard in vitro culture approaches are of unclear physiologic relevance because they do not mimic the compositional, architectural or distensible nature of a living organ.  In the lung, fibroblasts exist in ECM-rich interstitial spaces and are key effectors of lung fibrogenesis.

In their present work the team developed a culture system using acellular human normal and fibrotic lungs to address how ECM influences fibroblast phenotype in a disease specific manner.  This new method of preparing acellular lung matrix that can be used to study the impact of extracellular matrix on lung cell phenotype.  This process results in a more physiologic substrate that retains normal stiffness, architecture, and matrix composition compared to native lungs.  By using human lungs and cells this new system provides a novel way to culture cells in vitro to investigate matrix contributions to lung pathology in a disease-specific manner.

MS Bioworks provided protein profiling services of human lung ECM, allowing for a better understanding of compositional differences between normal and fibrotic lungs.

Read More »