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.