Inflammation is an essential component of many respiratory diseases, including pneumonia, asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Main features of inflammation can be displayed ex vivo by using fresh lung tissue, so-called precision-cut lung slices (PCLS). PCLS contain epithelial cells, fibroblasts, smooth muscle cells, nerve fibers, and even immune cells such as antigen-presenting cells and T-cells. The tissue is fully viable. Cells in the tissue interact with each other, thereby reflecting the highly specialized function of the lung.
We use lung tissue of laboratory animals and human donors. The tissue is exposed ex vivo to mitogens such as endotoxin (lipopolysaccharide, LPS) or polyI:C. This exposure has been shown to reproduce hallmarks of human inflammation, with high release of cytokines and chemokines responsible for recruiting of neutrophils and monocytes. The tissue is subsequently examined for immune responses, changes in cellular phenotype, respiratory toxicity, airway constriction and dilation, and vasoconstriction and -dilation. Features of inflammation can thus be investigated – using tissue of different species including human. We found the tissue response to be highly comparable with the in-vivo response, and it can be used for prediction of organ responses.