Co-culture of primary pulmonary cells to model alveolar injury and translocation of proteins.
Primary rat alveolar type II cells and early passage rat lung fibroblasts were co-cultured on opposite sides of a collagen-coated polycarbonate filter. This is an approach to "model", in part, an alveolar wall to study mechanisms of cytotoxicity and translocation of bioactive materials from the alveolar space to the lung interstitium. Type II cells were recovered from adult rat (Fischer 344) lungs by enzyme digestion and "panning". Lung fibroblasts were separated from the same species, cultured initially in 10% fetal bovine serum and used in the co-culture system at early passage. The type II cells formed a monolayer of dedifferentiated epithelium which provided a barrier on the upper side of the collagen (human type IV)-coated filter. The fibroblasts on the bottom of the filter replicated logarithmically in the presence of serum, could be rendered quiescent in defined medium and then returned to rapid growth phase with the reintroduction of serum. The intact epithelial monolayer excluded trypan blue, albumin, platelet-derived growth factor, and alpha2-macroglobulin from the lower compartment of the culture chamber. Altering the integrity of the monolayer by a variety of means allowed translocation of these materials through the collagen-coated filters. Particularly interesting was the effect of taurine chloramine which caused subtle changes in the alveolar epithelium and allowed subsequent translocation of albumin. In addition, we showed that rat alveolar macrophages remain viable with some spreading on the surface of the epithelial monolayer. This co-culture system will have future application in the study of how reactive oxygen species might affect the epithelial barrier, and whether macrophage-derived growth factors can influence fibroblast proliferation if the monolayer is intact or injured.
Mangum, JB; Everitt, JI; Bonner, JC; Moore, LR; Brody, AR
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