New Model Enables Long-Term Preservation of Intestinal Tissue Samples

A recently developed culture model of the human intestine may open the door to new advances in the study of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) according to a research team from the University of Oslo and the John Greenman lab at the University of Hull, UK. At present, studies of IBD typically involve animal models, which imprecisely replicate conditions in the human gut. Additionally, current methods for studying biopsied tissue preserve its viability for only about 8 hours. But the newly developed approach keeps living tissue viable for several days, according to the researchers. Study author Amy Dawson, a postdoctoral researcher at the Greenman lab, said, “The new model enables studies of the complex interactions between host cells, mucus production, and gut microbes in a system that closely mimics the situation in human patients.” The model is described in a paper published this week in the journal Biomicrofluidics.

In the new approach, biopsied intestinal samples were preserved in a microfluidic chamber that enables waste removal and nutrient supply and keeps the tissue functional for extended periods. This permits study and comparison of tissues from patients with IBD and control subjects under conditions that closely mimic the living intestine. In addition to enhancing our understanding of how differences in the gut microbiome are related to symptoms of IBD such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, the new model may also permit comparative testing of different treatment approaches to create more personalized therapeutic plans.

Read more about the advance, and access a link to the journal article here.

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