Halfway through 2017, here’s a recap of how researchers are using Lifeline® cells to study different disease mechanisms and biological processes. Lifeline® cells are being used to: engineer in vitro airway models, represent normal tissue controls for cancer studies, model capillary formation, and more. (We carry cells from 15 different tissue types and below are just a few examples . . .)

Initimal Hyperplasia and Vascular Injury Studies

Freeman et al. used Lifeline® aortic smooth muscle cells to study the effects of androgen deficiency on initimal hyperplasia, a condition in which vascular smooth muscle cells respond to blood vessel injury by proliferating and causing thickening of the intima, the innermost layer of blood vessels. They found that androgen deficiency did indeed contribute to development of initimal hyperplasia and that testosterone replacement could help prevent this process. However, the authors also found that testosterone replacement caused cytoskeletal rearrangements that may cause unwanted side effects on the vasculature.

Viral Infectivity Studies

Shirato et al. utilized an in vitro air-liquid interface system to model the airway epithelium with Lifeline® bronchial/tracheal epithelial cells to study coronavirus infection (the main cause of the common cold). They studied the mechanism by which over decades, a coronavirus isolate adapted to laboratory culture conditions, and found that longer laboratory culture of the virus changed its mode of cell entry. They demonstrated that clinical isolates, unlike the laboratory strain, depend more heavily on cell surface proteases (TMPRSS2), rather than endosomal proteases (cathepsin L), and therefore, use of TMPRSS2 inhibitors may be a more effective treatment option for coronavirus infection.

Cancer Biomarker Studies

Lifeline® cells are excellent controls for cancer studies and have been used to validate cancer treatments and the identification of cancer biomarkers. For example, Narain et al. used Lifeline® prostate epithelial cells as normal tissue controls to evaluate the use of Keratin-19 and Filamin-B as prostate cancer biomarkers. They found that these two candidate targets could be detected in the plasma of prostate cancer patients, and therefore, may be useful in the detection and diagnosis of prostate cancer.

Vitiligo Disease Studies

Arowojolu and colleagues used Lifeline® melanocytes to study the pathways that are dysregulated in vitiligo, a condition in which melanocytes in the skin are lost. They also used Lifeline® epidermal keratinocytes and dermal fibroblasts as negative controls. They treated normal Lifeline® melanocytes with vitiligo-inducing phenols (VIPs) and identified NRF2 as a key mediator of the protective response. Importantly, melanocytes from vitiligo patients did not have a robust NRF2 response to VIPs, but this was improved by treatment with a NRF2-activating drug. Together, their study suggests that NRF2 is a promising target for vitiligo treatment.

Blood Vessel Homeostasis Studies

Lifeline® umbilical vein endothelial cells form capillary-like structures when grown on specialized matrices. Torres et al. utilized this system to study Peg3, a tumor suppressor that is involved in endothelial cell autophagy. They found that Peg3 induced endothelial autophagy and attenuated angiogenesis, which may be important for informing treatments that target cancer-promoting angiogenesis.

Lung Tumorigenesis Studies

Smoking is a main cause of lung cancer. Boo et al. used Lifeline® bronchial epithelial cells and small airway epithelial cells to determine the effects of NNK, a carcinogen found in tobacco. They found that NNK binding to airway epithelial cells induces IGF signaling, which is well known to contribute to lung tumorigenesis. Importantly, the effects of NNK in a mouse model could be attenuated using a calcium channel blocker, suggesting this therapeutic option could be effective in treating lung cancer.

Please visit our References page for many more examples of how researchers around the world are using Lifeline® cells to study disease mechanisms and engineer new model systems. Please also share with us the ways you have used Lifeline® cells in your research and your study could be featured here on our blog!