Precision cut lung slices: a novel versatile tool to examine host–pathogen interaction in the chicken lung


Our partners ROSLIN have generated a chicken precision cut lung slice model that can simulate live organ responses.

The avian respiratory tract is a common entry route for many pathogens and an important delivery route for vaccination in the poultry industry. Immune responses in the avian lung have mostly been studied in vivo due to the lack of robust, relevant in vitro and ex vivo models mimicking the microenvironment. Precision-cut lung slices (PCLS) have the major advantages of maintaining the 3-dimensional architecture of the lung and includes heterogeneous cell populations. PCLS have been obtained from a number of mammalian species and from chicken embryos. However, as the embryonic lung is physiologically undifferentiated and immunologically immature, it is less suitable to examine complex host–pathogen interactions including antimicrobial responses. Here we prepared PCLS from immunologically mature chicken lungs, tested different culture conditions, and found that serum supplementation has a detrimental effect on the quality of PCLS. Viable cells in PCLS remained present for ≥ 40 days, as determined by viability assays and sustained motility of fluorescent mononuclear phagocytic cells. The PCLS were responsive to lipopolysaccharide stimulation, which induced the release of nitric oxide, IL-1β, type I interferons and IL-10. Mononuclear phagocytes within the tissue maintained phagocytic activity, with live cell imaging capturing interactions with latex beads and an avian pathogenic Escherichia coli strain. Finally, the PCLS were also shown to be permissive to infection with low pathogenic avian influenza viruses. Taken together, immunologically mature chicken PCLS provide a suitable model to simulate live organ responsiveness and cell dynamics, which can be readily exploited to examine host–pathogen interactions and inflammatory responses.



Bryson, K.J. et al. Precision cut lung slices: a novel versatile tool to examine host–pathogen interaction in the chicken lung. Vet Res 51, 2 (2020) doi:10.1186/s13567-019-0733-0