Development and evaluation of a bovine lung-on-chip (bLOC) to study bovine respiratory diseases


Current air-liquid interface (ALI) models of bovine proximal airways have their limitations. They do not simulate blood flow necessary to mimic systemic drug administration, and repeated sampling requires multiple, independent cultures. A bovine lung-on-chip (bLOC) would overcome these limitations, providing a convenient and cost-effective model for pharmacokinetic or pathogenicity studies.


Bovine pulmonary arterial endothelial cells seeded into the endothelial channel of an Emulate Lung-Chip were interfaced with bovine bronchial epithelial cells in the epithelial channel. Cells were cultured at ALI for up to 21 days. Differentiation was assessed by mucin quantification, phase-contrast light microscopy and immunofluorescence of cell-specific markers in fixed cultures. Barrier integrity was determined by FITC-labelled dextran 3-5 kDa permeability. To evaluate the model, endothelial-epithelial transport of the antibiotic drug, danofloxacin, was followed using liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry, with the aim of replicating data previously determined in vivo.


bLOC cultures secreted quantifiable mucins, whilst cilia formation was evident in the epithelial channel. Barrier integrity of the model was demonstrated by resistance to FITC-Dextran 3-5 kDa permeation. Bronchial epithelial and endothelial cell-specific markers were observed. Close to plasma, representative PK data for danofloxacin was observed in the endothelial channel; however, danofloxacin in the epithelial channel was mostly below the limit of quantification.


A co-culture model of the bovine proximal airway was successfully generated, with potential to replace in vivo experimentation. With further optimisation and characterisation, the bLOC may be suitable to perform drug pharmacokinetic studies for bovine respiratory disease (BRD), and other applications.


3Rs; Bovine respiratory disease; In vitro; Lung; Organ-on-chip; Pharmacokinetics.

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