Researchers at the Institute of Biomedical Research August Pi i Sunyer have led a study, published in the journal PLoS One, in which reconstituted a new nasal respiratory epithelium from mature stem cells of the mucosa of both healthy and inflamed tissue. They have done by a technique of exposure of air culture primary cells.

The nasal epithelium is a barrier of defense against inhaled particulate pollutants, allergens and microbial pathogens and regulates both innate and acquired immunity through the secretion of different substances (cytokines and mediators). The problem comes when, because of an inflammatory disease, such as rhinitis or rhinosinusitis, its function is impaired.

new 3d models

Until now, there various models in vitro to study the mechanisms of altered epithelium but lacked the morphological or biochemical characteristics of nasal epithelial cells. Researchers team Biomedical Research Institute August Pi i Sunyer, directed by Joaquim Mullol, published an article in the journal PLoS One in which developed and characterized two models i n vitro 3D epithelium: a physiological-from mucosa normally and other disease-of nasally inflammatory polyposis maintaining function.

So, after getting the epithelial cells of donor and grown in these conditions, at four weeks primary cells differentiated into the three cell types that make up the respiratory epithelium: goblet or mucus-producing cells; the hair cells, which are responsible for the mechanism of clearance of mucus and particles from the air; and basal cells, which are responsible for tissue regeneration after external aggressions.

After obtaining the cultures studied cell differentiation of the epithelial structure, the different cellular phenotypes and physiological or pathological function of cells to see if it was altered.

The data obtained have shown great plasticity of epithelial cells, which are able to regenerate a complete tissue without alterations in their functions. According to the authors, this 3D culture model allows to study the origin and mechanisms of action involved in inflammatory diseases of the nose, such as rhinitis, rhinosinusitis and nasal polyposis, and use this technology in the development of new drugs for these diseases.