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Primary bronchial epithelial cell culture from explanted cystic fibrosis lungs

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Malcolm Brodlie, Dr Michael McKean, Dr John Perry, Dr Burns Verdon, Dr Michael Gray, Professor John Dark, Professor Jeffrey Pearson, Professor Andrew FisherORCiD, Emeritus Professor Nick Europe-Finner, Dr James Lordan, Professor Christopher WardORCiD


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Lung disease is responsible for more than 95% of morbidity and mortality in cystic fibrosis. The exact pathogenesis of cystic fibrosis lung disease remains poorly understood. Experimental models are therefore vital for use in research. Animal models and immortalized cell lines both have inherent limitations. Explanted lungs removed from people with cystic fibrosis at the time of transplantation represent a potentially valuable but technically and logistically challenging source of primary cystic fibrosis bronchial epithelial cells. In this study, pieces of segmental bronchus from explanted lungs were treated with patient-specific antimicrobials prior to isolation of bronchial epithelial cells. Cultured cells were characterized by their morphology under light microscopy, cytokeratin and hematoxylin-eosin staining, and electrophysiological profile. Primary bronchial epithelial cells were successfully cultured from 15 of 22 patients attempted. The cells exhibited typical epithelial morphology, staining for cytokeratin, lack of responsiveness to forskolin treatment, and remained viable after storage in liquid nitrogen. Seven unsuccessful cultures failed due to early infection with bacteria known to colonize the airways pretransplant. The results show that primary bronchial epithelial cell culture is possible from explanted cystic fibrosis lungs. This provides an important cellular model to elucidate the pathogenic mechanisms in cystic fibrosis lung disease and to investigate potential therapeutic targets.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Brodlie M, McKean MC, Johnson GE, Perry JD, Nicholson A, Verdon B, Gray MA, Dark JH, Pearson JP, Fisher AJ, Corris PA, Lordan J, Ward C

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Experimental Lung Research

Year: 2010

Volume: 36

Issue: 2

Pages: 101-110

Print publication date: 01/03/2010

ISSN (print): 0190-2148

ISSN (electronic): 1521-0499

Publisher: Taylor & Francis


DOI: 10.3109/01902140903165265


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Funder referenceFunder name
Joint MRC/CF Trust
Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals Special Trustees
PJ 540CF Trust