• A 3D co-culture of three human cell lines to model the inflamed intestinal mucosa for safety testing of nanomaterials.

      Susewind, Julia; de Souza Carvalho-Wodarz, Cristiane; Repnik, Urska; Collnot, Eva-Maria; Schneider-Daum, Nicole; Griffiths, Gareth Wyn; Lehr, Claus-Michael; Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmaceutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1, 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (2016)
      Oral exposure to nanomaterials is a current concern, asking for innovative biological test systems to assess their safety, especially also in conditions of inflammatory disorders. Aim of this study was to develop a 3D intestinal model, consisting of Caco-2 cells and two human immune cell lines, suitable to assess nanomaterial toxicity, in either healthy or diseased conditions. Human macrophages (THP-1) and human dendritic cells (MUTZ-3) were embedded in a collagen scaffold and seeded on the apical side of transwell inserts. Caco-2 cells were seeded on top of this layer, forming a 3D model of the intestinal mucosa. Toxicity of engineered nanoparticles (NM101 TiO2, NM300 Ag, Au) was evaluated in non-inflamed and inflamed co-cultures, and also compared to non-inflamed Caco-2 monocultures. Inflammation was elicited by IL-1β, and interactions with engineered NPs were addressed by different endpoints. The 3D co-culture showed well preserved ultrastructure and significant barrier properties. Ag NPs were found to be more toxic than TiO2 or Au NPs. But once inflamed with IL-1β, the co-cultures released higher amounts of IL-8 compared to Caco-2 monocultures. However, the cytotoxicity of Ag NPs was higher in Caco-2 monocultures than in 3D co-cultures. The naturally higher IL-8 production in the co-cultures was enhanced even further by the Ag NPs. This study shows that it is possible to mimic inflamed conditions in a 3D co-culture model of the intestinal mucosa. The fact that it is based on three easily available human cell lines makes this model valuable to study the safety of nanomaterials in the context of inflammation.
    • Co-culture of human alveolar epithelial (hAELVi) and macrophage (THP-1) cell lines.

      Kletting, Stephanie; Barthold, Sarah; Repnik, Urska; Griffiths, Gareth; Loretz, Brigitta; Schneider-Daum, Nicole; de Souza Carvalho-Wodarz, Cristiane; Lehr, Claus-Michael; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (Springer Nature, 2018-01-01)
      The air-blood barrier is mainly composed of alveolar epithelial cells and macrophages. Whereas the epithelium acts as a diffusional barrier, macrophages represent an immunological barrier, in particular for larger molecules and nanoparticles. This paper describes a new co-culture of human cell lines representing both cell types. Acquiring, culturing and maintaining primary alveolar epithelial cells presents significant logistical and technical difficulties. The recently established human alveolar epithelial lentivirus immortalized cell line, hAELVi, when grown on permeable filters, forms monolayers with high functional and morphological resemblance to alveolar type I cells. To model alveolar macrophages, the human cell line THP-1 was seeded on pre-formed hAELVi monolayers. The co-culture was characterized regarding cellular morphology, viability and barrier function. Macrophages were homogenously distributed on the epithelium and could be kept in co-culture for up to 7 days. Transmission electron microscopy showed loose contact between THP-1 and hAELVi cells. When grown at air liquid interface, both cells were covered with extracellular matrix-like structure, which was absent in THP-1 mono-culture. In co-culture with macrophages, hAELVi cells displayed similar, sometimes even higher, transepithelial electrical resistance than in mono-cultures. When exposed to silver and starch nanoparticles, hAELVi mono-cultures were more tolerant to the particles than THP-1 mono-cultures. Viability in the co-culture was similar to that of hAELVi mono-cultures. Transport studies with sodium fluorescein in the presence/absence of EDTA proved that the co-culture acts as functional diffusion barrier. These data demonstrate that hAELVi-/THP-1 co-cultures represent a promising model for safety and permeability studies of inhaled chemicals, drugs and nanoparticles.
    • Human alveolar epithelial cells expressing tight junctions to model the air-blood barrier.

      Kuehn, Anna; Kletting, Stephanie; de Souza Carvalho-Wodarz, Cristiane; Repnik, Urska; Griffiths, Gareth; Fischer, Ulrike; Meese, Eckart; Huwer, Hanno; Wirth, Dagmar; May, Tobias; et al. (2016-03-17)
      This paper describes a new human alveolar epithelial cell line (hAELVi - human Alveolar Epithelial Lentivirus immortalized) with type I-like characteristics and functional tight junctions, suitable to model the air-blood barrier of the peripheral lung. Primary human alveolar epithelial cells were immortalized by a novel regimen, grown as monolayers on permeable filter supports and characterized morphologically, biochemically and biophysically. hAELVi cells maintain the capacity to form tight intercellular junctions, with high trans-epithelial electrical resistance (> 1000 Ω*cm²). The cells could be kept in culture over several days, up to passage 75, under liquid-liquid as well as air-liquid conditions. Ultrastructural analysis and real time PCR revealed type I-like cell properties, such as the presence of caveolae, expression of caveolin-1, and absence of surfactant protein C. Accounting for the barrier properties, inter-digitations sealed with tight junctions and desmosomes were also observed. Low permeability of the hydrophilic marker sodium fluorescein confirmed the suitability of hAELVi cells for in vitro transport studies across the alveolar epithelium. These results suggest that hAELVi cells reflect the essential features of the air-blood barrier, as needed for an alternative to animal testing to study absorption and toxicity of inhaled drugs, chemicals and nanomaterials.
    • Lymphatic endothelial cells are a replicative niche for Mycobacterium tuberculosis.

      Lerner, Thomas R; de Souza Carvalho-Wodarz, Cristiane; Repnik, Urska; Russell, Matthew R G; Borel, Sophie; Diedrich, Collin R; Rohde, M; Wainwright, Helen; Collinson, Lucy M; Wilkinson, Robert J; et al. (2016-03-01)
      In extrapulmonary tuberculosis, the most common site of infection is within the lymphatic system, and there is growing recognition that lymphatic endothelial cells (LECs) are involved in immune function. Here, we identified LECs, which line the lymphatic vessels, as a niche for Mycobacterium tuberculosis in the lymph nodes of patients with tuberculosis. In cultured primary human LECs (hLECs), we determined that M. tuberculosis replicates both in the cytosol and within autophagosomes, but the bacteria failed to replicate when the virulence locus RD1 was deleted. Activation by IFN-γ induced a cell-autonomous response in hLECs via autophagy and NO production that restricted M. tuberculosis growth. Thus, depending on the activation status of LECs, autophagy can both promote and restrict replication. Together, these findings reveal a previously unrecognized role for hLECs and autophagy in tuberculosis pathogenesis and suggest that hLECs are a potential niche for M. tuberculosis that allows establishment of persistent infection in lymph nodes.