Assessment of the cytotoxic and immunomodulatory effects of substances in human precision-cut lung slices
Respiratory diseases in their broad diversity need appropriate model systems to understand the underlying mechanisms and enable development of new therapeutics. Additionally, registration of new substances requires appropriate risk assessment with adequate testing systems to avoid the risk of individuals being harmed, for example, in the working environment. Such risk assessments are usually conducted in animal studies. In view of the 3Rs principle and public skepticism against animal experiments, human alternative methods, such as precision-cut lung slices (PCLS), have been evolving. The present paper describes the ex vivo technique of human PCLS to study the immunomodulatory potential of low-molecular-weight substances, such as ammonium hexachloroplatinate (HClPt). Measured endpoints include viability and local respiratory inflammation, marked by altered secretion of cytokines and chemokines. Pro-inflammatory cytokines, tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha), and interleukin 1 alpha (IL-1alpha) were significantly increased in human PCLS after exposure to a sub-toxic concentration of HClPt. Even though the technique of PCLS has been substantially optimized over the past decades, its applicability for the testing of immunomodulation is still in development. Therefore, the results presented here are preliminary, even though they show the potential of human PCLS as a valuable tool in respiratory research.