Spec. Issue 2006 - Article Summary

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Cell culture models of the air-blood barrier for the evaluation of aerosol medicines

Claus-Michael Lehr, Michael Bur and Ulrich F. Schaefer
Saarland University, Saarbr├╝cken, Germany
Cell culture models of pulmonary epithelia offer excellent opportunities to study transport processes of drugs and other xenobiotics across the air-blood barrier, as well as to assess the inhalation safety of new polymers and other chemicals. After adequate characterisation and validation, such systems may be valuable alternatives to inhalation experiments with animals.
We have been evaluating the pulmonary epithelial cell lines Calu-3, 16HBE14o-, CFBE41o- and A549, as well as primary cultures of human alveolar epithelial cells (hAEpC). Typically, cells are grown on permeable filter supports, allowing the formation of monolayers with functional tight junctions and pharmaceutically relevant transporter proteins. While the cell lines Calu-3 and 16HBE14o- appear useful to model the bronchial epithelium, the cell line A549 develops only weak barrier properties. Therefore, it still appears necessary to use primary cultured cells to model the alveolar epithelium.

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