Central to the development of tissue models that can better predict how humans respond to infection is the understanding that cells and tissues in our bodies function in a three-dimensional (3-D) context. Accordingly, cell-based models of tissues made in the laboratory must be developed with the same appreciation for the 3-D tissue microenvironment encountered by pathogens in the body.
While this research concept has long been appreciated by the cancer and regenerative medicine world, the infectious disease world has been slower to get on board.
Now, an ASU Biodesign Institute team has developed and applied 3-D tissue models to study bacterial infectious disease nearly two decades ago -- and spearheaded the adoption of 3-D tissue models as a new paradigm to study infectious disease -- has reported their latest advancement in 3-D intestinal model development.
The new study, a collaboration between Arizona State University and NASA's Johnson Space Center, was led by Cheryl Nickerson, a researcher at ASU's Biodesign Institute and professor in the School of Life Sciences.
Their united goal is to develop more realistic models of intestinal tissue to thwart Salmonella, a leading cause of food poisoning and systemic disease worldwide with many varieties causing severe and sometimes fatal infections with an economic impact in the billions of dollars.
Interestingly, the response of this new model to infection with the different types of Salmonella was very different for each strain, thus demonstrating the model's ability to distinguish between these closely related pathogens based on their infection characteristics. Specifically, important differences were observed between the bacterial strains in model colonization (adherence, invasion and intracellular survival) and intracellular co-localization patterns in epithelial and immune cells.
Posted by Dr. Tim Sandle