Asthma is one of the most common lung diseases worldwide. Main features of the disease 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 proteins known to be important in the pathophysiology of asthma, such as IL-13. The tissue can also be passively sensitized to commonly used allergens such as ovalbumin or house dust mite (HDM). The tissue is subsequently examined for immune responses, changes in cellular phenotype, respiratory toxicity, airway constriction and dilation, and vasoconstriction and dilation. Features of asthma 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.