Uses of Remnant Human Lung Tissue for Mechanical Stretch Studies
precision-cut lung slice
pulmonary alveolar epithelial cells
Biomedical Engineering and Bioengineering
Human lung tissue donated for research purposes is a precious resource which can enhance the exploration of mechanisms involved in ventilator-induced lung injury (VILI). The goal of this work was to establish methods and demonstrate the feasibility of obtaining viable primary human type I-like alveolar epithelial cells (AECs) from remnant tissue, even after a significant lapse in post-mortem time, as well as human precision-cut lung slices (PCLSs), and stretch them at magnitudes correlated with mechanical ventilation volumes. Although after 3 days in culture many of the isolated cells stained for the type II AEC marker pro-surfactant Protein C (pro-SPC), after 6 days in culture the monolayer stained only weakly and non-specifically for pro-SPC, and stained brightly for the type I AEC marker aquaporin-5. A strong zona-occludin 1 stain demonstrated the formation of tight junctions between the cells in the epithelial monolayer after only 3 days in culture. To demonstrate the utility of the preparations for the study of lung injury, we stretched the cells and the PCLSs cyclically, uniformly, and equibiaxially and quantified their viability. Our data show that the described methods allow the utilization of human tissue in in vitro stretch studies investigating VILI.