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Adv Drug Deliv Rev. 2014 Apr;69-70:103-22. doi: 10.1016/j.addr.2013.12.011. Epub 2014 Jan 19.

Human immunity in vitro - solving immunogenicity and more.

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ProBioGen AG, Goethestrasse 54, 13086 Berlin, Germany.
Technische Universität Berlin, Institute of Biotechnology, Department Medical Biotechnology, Gustav-Meyer-Allee 25, 13355 Berlin, Germany. Electronic address:


It has been widely recognised that the phylogenetic distance between laboratory animals and humans limits the former's predictive value for immunogenicity testing of biopharmaceuticals and nanostructure-based drug delivery and adjuvant systems. 2D in vitro assays have been established in conventional culture plates with little success so far. Here, we detail the status of various 3D approaches to emulate innate immunity in non-lymphoid organs and adaptive immune response in human professional lymphoid immune organs in vitro. We stress the tight relationship between the necessarily changing architecture of professional lymphoid organs at rest and when activated by pathogens, and match it with the immunity identified in vitro. Recommendations for further improvements of lymphoid tissue architecture relevant to the development of a sustainable adaptive immune response in vitro are summarized. In the end, we sketch a forecast of translational innovations in the field to model systemic innate and adaptive immunity in vitro.


3D tissue culture; Adaptive immunity; Germinal centres; Human-on-a-chip; Immunogenicity; Lymphoid follicles; Microfluidics; Microsystems; Native immunity; Organs-on-a-chip

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