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J Vis Exp. 2018 Apr 11;(134). doi: 10.3791/57492.

Generation of Human Nasal Epithelial Cell Spheroids for Individualized Cystic Fibrosis Transmembrane Conductance Regulator Study.

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Department of Pediatrics, Division of Pulmonary Medicine, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center;
Department of Pediatrics, Division of Pulmonary Medicine, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center.


While the introduction of Cystic Fibrosis Transmembrane Conductance Regulator (CFTR) modulator drugs has revolutionized care in Cystic Fibrosis (CF), the genotype-directed therapy model currently in use has several limitations. First, rare or understudied mutation groups are excluded from definitive clinical trials. Moreover, as additional modulator drugs enter the market, it will become difficult to optimize the modulator choices for an individual subject. Both of these issues are addressed with the use of patient-derived, individualized preclinical model systems of CFTR function and modulation. Human nasal epithelial cells (HNEs) are an easily accessible source of respiratory tissue for such a model. Herein, we describe the generation of a three-dimensional spheroid model of CFTR function and modulation using primary HNEs. HNEs are isolated from subjects in a minimally invasive fashion, expanded in conditional reprogramming conditions, and seeded into the spheroid culture. Within 2 weeks of seeding, spheroid cultures generate HNE spheroids that can be stimulated with 3',5'-cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP)-generating agonists to activate CFTR function. Spheroid swelling is then quantified as a proxy of CFTR activity. HNE spheroids capitalize on the minimally invasive, yet respiratory origin of nasal cells to generate an accessible, personalized model relevant to an epithelium reflecting disease morbidity and mortality. Compared to the air-liquid interface HNE cultures, spheroids are relatively quick to mature, which reduces the overall contamination rate. In its current form, the model is limited by low throughput, though this is offset by the relative ease of tissue acquisition. HNE spheroids can be used to reliably quantify and characterize CFTR activity at the individual level. An ongoing study to tie this quantification to in vivo drug response will determine if HNE spheroids are a true preclinical predictor of patient response to CFTR modulation.

[Available on 2020-04-11]
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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