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Research Studies Using Lifeline Cells & Media: 2020 Review

Semi-Annual Review – Lifeline Products Featured in 2020

As 2020 is winding down, we thought it would be worthwhile to look back at the publications that we have highlighted on our blog. As we do annually, this last blog post of the year will be a recap of the second half of 2020, reviewing the various applications in which researchers have used Lifeline® cell culture media systems. The scope and variety of cell types used for numerous research topics covered this year show a wide diversity of applications for our products. Read on for a brief recap of this exciting research!

Wharton’s Jelly Mesenchymal Stem Cells

Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are of interest for cell-based therapies to treat diseases like osteoarthritis, multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson’s disease but, inconsistent efficacy and safety issues have limited their utility prompting groups to look at cell-free alternatives like primed MSC-derived extracellular vesicles (MSC-EVs). In a May 2020 publication, Andrews and Colleagues investigated acidosis, hypoxia, and inflammatory cytokine priming of Lifeline’s Wharton’s Jelly MSCs and MSC-EVs and their uptake by and immunosuppression of different T Cell subsets. The results of this study showed that MSC-EVs from acidosis-primed MSCs can effectively modulate T Cell activity and could be a potential new MSC culture strategy to generate therapeutically relevant MSC-EVs for disease treatment.

Human Aortic Smooth Muscle Cells

In a June 2020 publication, Bhattacharyya and Colleagues used Lifeline’s human aortic smooth muscle cells to investigate the mechanisms by which the SARS-CoV-2 infection causes hypoxia and respiratory failure in an attempt to identify new therapeutic targets. Based on their data, the authors hypothesize that stimulation of the ACE2 receptor in bronchioalveolar cells increases the expression of chondroitin sulfotransferases (CHST11 and CHST15) and results in high levels of chondroitin sulfates (C4S and CSE), which impairs airflow and oxygenation in the respiratory tract. These hypoxic conditions prevent ARSB activation, resulting in high levels of IL-6, known to contribute to cytokine storms and the respiratory distress caused by SARS-CoV-2 infection. These results suggest that recombinant human (rh) ARSB may be a useful approach to treating refractory hypoxia in Covid-19 patients.

Normal Human Prostate Epithelial Cells

In another June 2020 publication, Xie and Colleagues utilized human prostate stem-progenitor cells (PrSPCs) isolated from Lifeline’s normal human prostate epithelial cells (HPrEC) cultured in ProstaLife™ Medium to study the link between an environmental toxin, inorganic arsenic (iA), and prostate cancer risk. Low-dose iAs increased HPrSPC self-renewal and decreased differentiation through activating of the p62-NRF2 axis. The authors postulate that iA exposure inhibits autophagy by preventing the correct assembly of V-ATPase, inhibiting lysosome acidification, which causes p62 to accumulate and activate NRF2, resulting in undesirable cellular transformation. This aberration was transmitted to progeny cells, making them susceptible to a carcinogenic state, increasing one’s risk of prostate cancer. The authors suggest that this specific autophagic flux blockade in progenitor cells could have potential therapeutic implications.

Normal Human Endometrial (Uterine) Epithelial Cells

The importance of having normal control cells is highlighted in an April 2020 publication by Liu and Colleagues, who sought to understand the role of circular RNA in endometrial carcinoma (EC) disease progression. They used Lifeline’s human endometrial (uterine) epithelial cells (HEuECs) cultured in ReproLife™ Media in comparison studies with EC cell lines. This study suggests that in the EC, high expression of circTNFRSF21 promotes EC formation by downregulating miR-1227 expression and activating the MAPK13/ATF2 signaling pathway. The researchers are hopeful that the molecules in this pathway could be new therapeutic targets for late-stage EC treatment.

Normal Neonatal Human Epidermal Keratinocyte Cells

The ability to track cell movement in response to stimuli through high content microscopy and imaging techniques has provided researchers with insights into mechanisms like wound healing, embryogenesis, and tumor invasion. In their May 2020 publication, Yang and Colleagues looked to establish an automated cell tracking algorithm that balanced the frequency of data images collection and the accuracy of the cell tracking by establishing a specific time interval for image acquisition. They utilized slow-moving Normal Neonatal Keratinocytes from Lifeline and HT1080s to generate datasets with directed (i.e. chemotactically induced) and random cell migration in order to test their tracking algorithm with concomitant manual cell tracking. While there is room for improvement to their algorithm, the authors hope this new approach will open up research avenues for further interdisciplinary research involving cell tracking.

Small Airway Epithelial Cells

Lee and Colleagues published a paper in October 2020 where they used Lifeline’s Small Airway Epithelial Cells (SAEC’s), cultured in BronchiaLife™ Medium, stimulated with interferons to understand the underlying genetic programs that cause airway hyperinflammation in COVID-19 patients. RNA-seq and ChIP-seq analysis confirmed transcriptome changes of the airway epithelium and identified regulatory elements (promoters and enhancers) that activate ACE2. JAK inhibitor suppression confirmed that JAK/STAT pathway controls IFN binding to the 5’ exon of ACE2 promoter. 2020 has been a year like no other as a result of the global spread of COVID-19. Fervent research into how SARS-CoV-2 infection is regulated is providing researchers with valuable information to help identify new treatment options while we await a vaccine.

As we bid farewell to 2020 and enter 2021, we look forward to showcasing more exciting research using Lifeline products on the blog. Be sure to visit us every other week to learn how our cells and cell culture media are used to further scientific research across a wide range of fields.

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