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Pathog Dis. 2014 Jun;71(1):1-19. doi: 10.1111/2049-632X.12180. Epub 2014 May 23.

Mimicking the host and its microenvironment in vitro for studying mucosal infections by Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

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The Biodesign Institute, Center for Infectious Diseases and Vaccinology, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ, USA.


Why is a healthy person protected from Pseudomonas aeruginosa infections, while individuals with cystic fibrosis or damaged epithelium are particularly susceptible to this opportunistic pathogen? To address this question, it is essential to thoroughly understand the dynamic interplay between the host microenvironment and P. aeruginosa. Therefore, using model systems that represent key aspects of human mucosal tissues in health and disease allows recreating in vivo host-pathogen interactions in a physiologically relevant manner. In this review, we discuss how factors of mucosal tissues, such as apical-basolateral polarity, junctional complexes, extracellular matrix proteins, mucus, multicellular complexity (including indigenous microbiota), and other physicochemical factors affect P. aeruginosa pathogenesis and are thus important to mimic in vitro. We highlight in vitro cell and tissue culture model systems of increasing complexity that have been used over the past 35 years to study the infectious disease process of P. aeruginosa, mainly focusing on lung models, and their respective advantages and limitations. Continued improvements of in vitro models based on our expanding knowledge of host microenvironmental factors that participate in P. aeruginosa pathogenesis will help advance fundamental understanding of pathogenic mechanisms and increase the translational potential of research findings from bench to the patient's bedside.


cell differentiation; cystic fibrosis; epithelial injury; host-pathogen interactions; microbiome; three-dimensional

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