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Novel approaches for studying pulmonary toxicity in vitro

: Aufderheide, M.; Knebel, J.W.; Ritter, D.


Toxicology letters 140-141 (2003), pp.205-211
ISSN: 0378-4274
ISSN: 1879-3169
Journal Article
Fraunhofer ITEM ()
air/liquid interface; In vitro exposure; airborne pollutant; air pollution

The in vitro study of adverse cellular effects induced by inhaled pollutants poses a special problem due to the difficulties of exposing cultured cells of the respiratory tract directly to test atmospheres that can include complex gaseous and particulate mixtures. In general, there is no widely accepted in vitro exposure system. However, in vitro methods offer the unique possibility for use of human cells, developed and validated cell culture and exposure device (CULTEX1) using the principle of the air/liquid exposure technique. Cells of the respiratory tract are grown on porous membranes in transwell inserts. After removal of the medium, the cells can be treated on their superficial surfaces with the test atmosphere, and at the same time they are supplied with nutrients through the membrane below. In comparison with other experimental approaches, the goal of our studies is to analyze the biological effects of test atmospheres under environmental conditions, i.e. without humidifying the atmosphere or adding additional CO2. The system used is small and flexible enough independent of a cultivation chamber and thus offers the opportunity for onsite study of indoor and outdoor atmospheres in the field. The efficacy of the exposure device has already been demonstrated in the analysis of dose-dependent cytotoxic and genotoxic effects of exposure of epithelial lung cells to complex mixtures such as native diesel exhaust and side-stream smoke.