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Cell Transplant. 2011;20(7):1117-26. doi: 10.3727/096368910X544933. Epub 2010 Nov 19.

Bioreactor for the long-term culture of lung tissue.

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Department of Biomedical Engineering, Duke University, Durham, NC, USA.


In this article we describe the design and validation of a bioreactor for the in vitro culture of whole rodent lung tissue. Many current systems only enable large segments of lung tissue to be studied ex vivo for up to a few hours in the laboratory. This limitation restricts the study of pulmonary biology in controlled laboratory settings, and also impacts the ability to reliably culture engineered lung tissues in the laboratory. Therefore, we designed, built, and validated a bioreactor intended to provide sufficient nutrient supply and mechanical stimulation to support cell survival and differentiation in cultured lung tissue. We also studied the effects of perfusion and ventilation on pulmonary cell survival and maintenance of cell differentiation state. The final bioreactor design described herein is capable of supporting the culture of whole native lung tissue for up to 1 week in the laboratory, and offers promise in the study of pulmonary biology and the development of engineered lung tissues in the laboratory.

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