Here’s our bi-annual review of research studies from the second half of 2018 that used Lifeline® cells. Below are just a few examples of how scientists around the world have used our cells to answer their research questions this year.

Epigenetic Analysis of Cells Exposed to Environmental Toxins or in Diseased States versus Normal Human Cells

Using Lifeline® primary human bronchial epithelial cells, Glass et al. performed epigenetic analysis on cells exposed to cigarette smoke to determine how cigarette smoke changes the epigenetic landscape of bronchial cells. They demonstrated that cigarette smoke-induced epigenetic changes resulted in transcriptional changes that could provide clues to how cigarette smoke leads to conditions like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Xia and colleagues investigated methylation and gene expression changes that occur in atherosclerosis and found that the SLAMF7, a cell surface receptor, is upregulated in the macrophages of atherosclerotic plaques. Using Lifeline® human aortic smooth muscle cells, they demonstrated that smooth muscle cell proliferation was inhibited when cells were exposed to conditioned medium from macrophages and monocytes expressing SLAMF7. They concluded that expression of SLAMF7 induced the production of inflammatory cytokines and inhibited smooth muscle cell proliferation, processes that are involved in the development of atherosclerosis.

Aquaporins as Potential Cancer Biomarkers

The identification of new cancer biomarkers is important for the diagnosis of cancer, as well as the development of new cancer therapeutics. Bründl et al. set out to investigate whether the expression of aquaporin (AQP) proteins had any clinical significance in prostate cancer. They characterized the expression of seven AQP proteins in Lifeline® normal human prostate cells and three prostate cancer cell lines. Their results revealed that expression of AQP3 and AQP4 was correlated with certain characteristics of prostate cancer, and following future investigations, may be useful biomarkers for prostate cancer.

Histone Acetylation and Viral Gene Expression in Human Cells

Lifeline® human bronchial/tracheal epithelial cells (HBTECs) are often used to model viral infection of the airway. Hsu and colleagues used Lifeline® HBTECs to study how the viral E1A protein inhibits p300 (a histone acetyltransferase) to control gene expression in host cells. They mapped the regions of E1A that are required for p300 binding and demonstrated that E1A-p300 binding regulates viral gene expression through epigenetic histone acetylation.

Cell Therapy and Tissue Engineering

Lifeline® cells are also used in tissue engineering applications. Dr. Christiansen-Weber and colleagues developed a system for culturing Lifeline® normal human mesenchymal stem cells in a 3D alginate matrix in chondrogenic medium, which induces chondrogenic differentiation to produce cartilage. They tested whether the addition of different sugars important for proteoglycan generation would improve cartilage production. They found that a formulation of epidermal growth factor, glucuronic acid, galactose, and hyaluronic acid could enhance in vitro cartilage growth.

OncomiR Expression in Cancer versus Normal Human Cells

Using Lifeline® normal human melanocytes, Bai et al. investigated whether miR-373, a miRNA commonly upregulated in melanoma, plays a role in melanoma pathogenesis. Although miR-373 was not expressed in normal melanocytes, it was upregulated in melanoma cell lines and tissue. The authors also demonstrated that the expression of miR-373 in melanoma cells induces cell migration, potentially through the downregulation of its target SIK1.

Developing Monoclonal Antibody-Based Therapeutics for Melanoma

Sakamoto et al. used Lifeline® normal human dermal fibroblasts and normal human melanocytes to develop an antibody against the receptor tyrosine kinase EPHA2, which is expressed in melanoma and associated with poor outcomes. The antibody they developed, termed SHM16, ameliorated the cell migration and invasion activities of A375 melanoma cells, could be used as an antibody delivery system, and caused significant cytotoxicity in multiple melanoma cell lines. Together, the authors’ results illustrate that SMH16 could be used as a potential therapeutic intervention in melanoma.

Improving Angiogenic Responses in Diseased Cardiovascular Tissues

Neuregulin-1 (NRG-1) signaling regulates cardiovascular angiogenesis and levels of NRG-1 are decreased in diabetes. To examine the effects of NRG-1 on angiogenesis in diabetes, Gui and colleagues treated diabetic rats with NRG-1 and found that cardiac function, capillary density, and expression of angiogenic markers was improved. Using Lifeline® normal human coronary artery cells grown in hypoxic conditions, the group also found that NRG-1 stimulated expression of angiogenic markers, suggesting that NRG-1 can augment angiogenesis in the context of diabetes.

Here at Lifeline®, we wish everyone a happy holiday season! Join us in the new year to see what we have in store for 2019.