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Exp Lung Res. 2011 Nov;37(9):519-35. doi: 10.3109/01902148.2011.605513. Epub 2011 Sep 6.

Analysis of airway epithelial regeneration and repair following endobronchial brush biopsy in sheep.

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Human Genome Centre, School of Medical Sciences, Health Campus, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Kubang Kerian Kelantan, Malaysia.


Understanding the fundamental processes involved in repairing the airway wall following injury is fundamental to understanding the way in which these processes are perturbed during disease pathology. Indeed complex diseases such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) have at their core evidence of airway wall remodeling processes that play a crucial functional role in these diseases. The authors sought to understand the dynamic cellular events that occur during bronchial airway epithelial repair in sheep. The injury was induced by endobronchial brush biopsy (BBr), a process that causes epithelial d├ębridement and induces a consequential repair process. In addition, the current experimental protocol allowed for the time-dependent changes in airway wall morphology to be studied both within and between animals. The initial d├ębridement was followed by evidence of dedifferentiation in the intact epithelium at the wound margins, followed by proliferation of cells both within the epithelium and in the deeper wall structures, notably in association with the submucosal glands and smooth muscle bundles. Seven days after injury, although the airway wall was thickened at the site of damage, the epithelial layer was intact, with evidence of redifferentiation. These studies, in demonstrating broad agreement with previous studies in small animals, indicate the wider relevance of this system as a comparative model and should provide a solid basis upon which to further characterize the critical cellular and molecular interactions that underlie both effective restitution and pathological repair.

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