Development of a co-culture model of the human lungs for toxicity testing and identification of biomarkers of inhalation toxicity


The airway epithelium is the first point of contact in the lung for inhaled material, including infectious pathogens and particulate matter, and protects against toxicity from these substances by trapping and clearance via the mucociliary escalator, presence of a protective barrier with tight junctions and initiation of a local inflammatory response. The inflammatory response involves recruitment of phagocytic cells to neutralise and remove and invading materials and is oftern modelled using rodents. However, development of valid in vitro airway epithelial models is of great importance due to the restrictions on animal studies for cosmetic compound testing implicit in the 7th amendment to the European Union Cosmetics Directive. Further, rodent innate immune responses have fundamental differences to human. Pulmonary endothelial cells and leukocytes are also involved in the innate response initiated during pulmonary inflammation. Co-culture models of the airways, in particular where epithelial cells are cultured at air liquid interface with the presence of tight junctions and differentiated mucociliary cells, offer a solution to this problem. Ideally validated models will allow for detection of early biomarkers of response to exposure and investigation into inflammatory response during exposure. This thesis describes the approaches taken towards developing an in vitro epithelial/endothelial cell model of the human airways and identification biomarkers of response to exposure to xenobiotics. The model comprised normal human primary microvascular endothelial cells and the bronchial epithelial cell line BEAS-2B or normal human bronchial epithelial cells. BEAS-2B were chosen as their characterisation at air liquid interface is limited but they are robust in culture, thereby predicted to provide a more reliable test system. Proteomics analysis was undertaken on challenged cells to investigate biomarkers of exposure. BEAS-2B morphology was characterised at air liquid interface compared with normal human bronchial epithelial cells. The results indicate that BEAS-2B cells at an air liquid interface form tight junctions as shown by expression of the tight junction protein zonula occludens-1. To this author’s knowledge this is the first time this result has been reported. The inflammatory response of BEAS-2B (measured as secretion of the inflammatory mediators interleukin-8 and -6) air liquid interface mono-cultures to Escherichia coli lipopolysaccharide or particulate matter (fine and ultrafine titanium dioxide) was comparable to published data for epithelial cells. Cells were also exposed to polymers of “commercial interest” which were in the nanoparticle range (and referred to particles hereafter). BEAS-2B mono-cultures showed an increased secretion of inflammatory mediators after challenge. Inclusion of microvascular endothelial cells resulted in protection against LPS- and particle- induced epithelial toxicity, measured as cell viability and inflammatory response, indicating the importance of co-cultures for investigations into toxicity. Two-dimensional proteomic analysis of lysates from particle-challenged cells failed to identify biomarkers of toxicity due to assay interference and experimental variability. Separately, decreased plasma concentrations of serine protease inhibitors, and the negative acute phase proteins transthyretin, histidine-rich glycoprotein and alpha2-HS glycoprotein were identified as potential biomarkers of methyl methacrylate/ethyl methacrylate/butylacrylate treatment in rats.

Divisions: College of Health & Life Sciences > School of Biosciences
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Institution: Aston University
Uncontrolled Keywords: co-cultured ,air-liquid interface,lipopolysaccharide,titanium dioxide,proteomics
Last Modified: 08 Dec 2023 08:40
Date Deposited: 16 May 2012 15:14
Completed Date: 2012-02-09
Authors: Willetts, Rachel


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