Munich Lung Tissue

Munich Lung Tissue


Our main goals are:

  • the processing of patient-derived lung tissue for the CPC bioArchive

  • advancement of isolation, culture conditions and cell culture models of human lung primary cells

  • research on primary human bronchial epithelial cell biology and diversity

Processing of Patient-derived Lung Tissue for the CPC bioArchive

Our team ensures rapid processing of patient-derived lung tissue obtained from 1) lung transplantations carried out by the “Munich-Lung-Transplant-Group” at the University Hospital in Großhadern or 2) lung surgery at the Asklepios Klinik in Gauting. Generated cryo samples for later protein or RNA isolation as well as formalin-fixed paraffin embedded (FFPE) tissue blocks are then transferred into the CPC bioArchive where researches can access the material from various lung diseases including IPF and COPD or healthy controls for scientific studies. Moreover, we isolate high quality primary human bronchial epithelial cells (phBECs)3 from large and small bronchi (Fig. 1) as well as primary human fibroblasts (phFs)2,4,5 (Fig. 2) using optimized isolation protocols by Dr. Andrea Schamberger and Dr. Katharina Heinzelmann, respectively. Cells at different passages are then available via the CPC bioArchive.

Our main goal is to provide high quality biomaterial and to constantly improve cell isolation, culture conditions and cell culture models for human lung primary cells.

Figure 1. (A) Schematic representation of the human airway epithelium - left panel: large airways, right panel: small airways. (B) Human large bronchus for phBEC isolation. (C) Human small bronchioles for phBEC isolation. (D) Isolated phBECs in passage 0, positive for tumor protein p63 (p63, E) and keratin 5 (KRT5, F) as basal cell marker and negative for alpha smooth muscle actin (aSMA, G) as fibroblast marker.
Source: Andrea Schmaberger, Helmholtz Zentrum München, ILBD/CPC

Figure 2. (A) Peripheral lung tissue used for phF isolation. (B) Isolated phFs in passage 1, positive for fibroblast marker CD90 (C), collagen 1 (Col1, D), alphaSMA (E) and fibronectin 1 (FN1, F).
Source: Katharina Heinzelmann, Helmholtz Zentrum München, IlBD/CPC

phBECs Cultured at the Air-liquid Interface

When researches from inside or outside the institute make use of our samples, we provide training in handling and culturing the primary cells and in case of phBECs how to differentiate basal cells at the air-liquid interface1,2,6,7 into a pseudostratified epithelium including ciliated cells, goblet cells and Clara (club) cells (Fig. 3). 

Figure 3. (A) Schematic overview of primary human bronchial epithelial cell differentiation at the air-liquid interface (B) 28 days differentiated phBECs from 6. (C) Transepithelial electrical resistance development during phBEC differentiation from 6.
Source: Andrea Schamberger, Helmholtz Zentrum München, ILBD/CPC

Research on phBEC Biology and Diversity

Our main scientific focus is the investigation of phBEC biology and diversity during healthy conditions and in diseases such as COPD and IPF. E.g. we recently developed an in vitro COPD model6 which recapitulates goblet and basal cell hyperplasia, cilia shortening and reduced numbers of ciliated cells. Importantly, we discovered that cigarette smoke extract (CSE) specifically altered the cellular composition of the airway epithelium by affecting basal cell differentiation.