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Differentiation. 1987;36(1):86-109.

Lung organoid culture.

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Institute of Anatomy, Freie Universit├Ąt Berlin.


An organoid culture system for lung cells is described in which morphogenesis of lung histotypic structures and differentiation of both pneumocytes type II and mesenchyme occur. The principle of this technique is the culture of mouse fetal lung cells at high density on a membrane filter at the medium/air interface. In the course of cultivation, cell sorting-out, epithelial cell aggregation, formation of an alveolar-like lumen in the organoids and formation of a basal lamina occur. Epithelial differentiation culminates in the production of lamellar bodies, and the mesenchyme develops into mature connective tissue. Morphogenesis and differentiation depend on the stage of fetal development from which the lung cells were derived but appear independent of the formation of a basal lamina. Various drugs have been tested for their effects on morphogenesis and differentiation in this lung organoid culture: some of them inhibit differentiation or damage the mesenchyme, others stimulate surfactant production. Due to the quite complex morphogenetic and cellular events occurring in lung organoid culture, it may be an applicable tool for alternative in vitro screening methods.

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