In February 2019, the researchers from the German Center for Lung Research (DZL) met in Mannheim to discuss their activities. A special award went to Séverine Cranz, PhD student in the ILBD Core Unit "Live Cell Imaging" at the DZL site Munich (CPC-M). She received the Best Poster Prize in the disease area “End Stage Lung Disease” (ELD). Together with her supervisor Gerald Burgstaller she presented the poster “Studying homing of basic lung cell types into their native niche of decellularized ex vivo human lung slices by 4D live-cell light sheet microscopy”.
The researchers want to answer the following question: Can we use stem cells to rebuild lung tissue that does not contain funtional lung cells anymore? Such a bioengineering approach would be particularly helpful in the field of lung transplantation.
For their investigations the team used one of the most advanced technologies in the imaging field: a lightsheet fluorescence microscope. Due to its incredibly fast and accurate image acquisition it can image living tissue in action - in real time, and in 3D! With the help of this microscope, the scientists can observe the behavior and interactions of lung stem cells in the extracellular matrix.
Here one can see human lung tissue (in green) which was decellularized and does not contain lung cells anymore. This cell-free tissue was then cultivated with fibroblasts, cells that usually rebuild tissue after injury:
The following light sheet microscope image displays fibroblasts (in red) that repopulated cell-free lung tissue (in green). In future the researchers want to use stem cells or lung progenitor cells in order to repopulate the lung scaffolds. With that they hope to be able to regenerate lung tissue.
The project is based on a cooperation with the Research Unit Lung Repair and Regeneration (LRR, director Melanie Königshoff) and a collaboration with Olmer Ruth and Martin Ullrich from the DZL site BREATH in Hannover.