Novel in vitro respiratory models to study lung development, physiology, pathology and toxicology

Joan E. Nichols, Jean A. Niles, Stephanie P. Vega, Joaquin Cortiella

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Detailed studies of lung pathology in patients during the course of development of acute lung injury or respiratory distress are limited, and in the past information related to lung-specific responses has been derived from the study of lungs from patients who died at autopsy or from animal models. Development of good in vitro human tissue models would help to bridge the gap in our current knowledge of lung responses and provide a better understanding of lung development, physiology and pathology. In vitro models of simple one-cell or two-cell culture systems as well as complex multicellular lung analogs that reproduce defined components of specific human lung responses have already been realized. A benefit of current in vitro lung models is that hypotheses generated from review of data from human or animal disease studies can be tested directly in engineered human tissue models. Results of studies done using simple in vitro lung systems or more complex three-dimensional models have already been used to examine cell-based responses, physiologic functions, pathologic changes and even drug toxicity or drug responses. In the future we will create models with specific genetic profiles to test the importance of single gene products or pathways of significance. Recent development of microfluidics-based models that support high-throughput screening will allow early-stage toxicity testing in human systems and faster development of new and innovative medical products. Model design in the future will also allow for evaluation of multiple organ systems at once, providing a more holistic or whole-body approach to understanding human physiology and responses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberS7
JournalStem Cell Research and Therapy
Issue numberSUPPL.1
StatePublished - Dec 20 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (miscellaneous)
  • Cell Biology


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