Advanced in vitro exposure systems.

11. Mar. 2018

Elucidating the impact of nanomaterials on genomic stability using high-throughput RT-qPCR and Alkaline Unwinding

User Group Meeting 2018

Matthias Hufnagel, Prof. Dr. Andrea Hartwig 

KIT - Karsruhe Institute of Technology

The poster shows the establisment of the use of a high-throughput RT-qPCR method and the quantitative detection of DNA strand breaks (Alkaline Unwinding) for cells exposed in the Air-Liquid Interface.

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29. Nov. 2017

Biodistribution of single and aggregated gold nanoparticles exposed to the human lung epithelial tissue barrier at the air-liquid interface

DOI: 10.1186/s12989-017-0231-3

Estelle Durantie1, Dimitri Vanhecke1, Laura Rodriguez-Lorenzo1, Flavien Delhaes1, Sandor Balog1, Dedy Septiadi1, Joel Bourquin1Alke Petri-Fink1,2 and Barbara Rothen-Rutishauser1

1BioNanomaterials Group, Adolphe Merkle Institute, Université de Fribourg, Chemin des Verdiers 4, 1700 Fribourg, Switzerland. 

2Chemistry Department, University of Fribourg, Chemin du Musée 9, 1700 Fribourg, Switzerland.


In this study, the biodistribution of aerosolized single and aggregated nanoparticles was investigated using a 3D model of the human epithelial tissue barrier.  The cells were exposed at the air-liquid interface using the Vitrocell® Cloud exposure system. It consists of three main parts: a nebulizer, an aerosol chamber and a base module constituted of 12-well size inserts and connected to a controlled heating unit. Robust characterization was used to evaluate the exact delivered dose onto the cell surface and to determine the cellular uptake and translocation across the barrier.

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20. Aug. 2017

Development of a 3D co-culture system to assess the respiratory sensitizing potential of chemicals

10th Congress on Alternatives and Animal Use in the Life Sciences August 20–24, 2017. Seattle, Washington, USA.

A. Chary 1,2, T. Serchi1, J. Hennen2, B. Bloemeke2, J. Ezendam3, S. Cambier1, E. Moschini1, A.C. Gutleb1
1Department of Environmental Research and Innovation (ERIN), Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST), Belvaux, Luxembourg,
2Department of Environmental Toxicology, University of Trier, Trier, Germany,
3RIVM Centre for Environmental Protection (GZB), National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), Utrecht, The Netherlands.

The aim of this study is to adapt the 3D-co-culture system previously developed by LIST (Klein et al.1,2) to allow the in vitro study of respiratory sensitization processes and to
find markers for the assessment of the respiratory sensitizing potential of inhaled compounds and mimicking the alveolar barrier to study cell-to-cell communication and inflammatory effects of nano particles at the air-liquid-interface.

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6. Jul. 2017

Biokinetics of Aerosolized Liposomal Ciclosporin A in Human Lung Cells In Vitro Using an Air-Liquid Cell Interface Exposure System


Schmid O1,2, Jud C3, Umehara Y3, Mueller D4, Bucholski A4, Gruber F4, Denk O4, Egle R4, Petri-Fink A3, Rothen-Rutishauser B3.

1 Comprehensive Pneumology Center (CPC), German Center for Lung Research (DZL) , Munich, Germany .
2 Institute of Lung Biology and Disease, Helmholtz Zentrum München-German Research Center for Environmental Health , Neuherberg, Germany .
3 BioNanomaterials, Adolphe Merkle Institute, University of Fribourg , Fribourg, Switzerland .
4 PARI Pharma GmbH, Starnberg, Germany .

The lung epithelial barrier was studied in vitro. Human lung epithelial cells (alveolar A549 and bronchial 16HBE14o- epithelial cells) were exposed to an aerosolized immunosuppressive drug encapsulated in liposomes at the air-liquid interface (ALI) using a dose-controlled air-liquid interface cell exposure (ALICE) system.

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3. Jun. 2017

In Vitro Testing of Aerosolized Substances with Primary 3D Human Airway Epithelia: Application of ALICE-Cloud Technology to e-liquids (e-cigarettes)


S. Constant1, A. Stelzl2,3, O. Eickelberg2,3,4, O. Schmid2,3
1Epithelix, Genève, Switzerland
2Comprehensive Pneumology Center (CPC-M), Member of the German Center for Lung Research (DZL), Munich, Germany
3Institute of Lung Biology and Disease, Helmholtz Zentrum München, Munich/Neuherberg, Germany
4University Hospital of the Ludwig Maximilians University (LMU), Munich, Germany

The poster shows the ALICE-Cloud technology combined with primary ALI 3D cell cultures. The effect of nebulized e-liquids were investigated in terms of tissue integrity, celia beating frequency, mucin secretion and IL-8 secretion.

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15. May. 2017

Human Asthmatic Bronchial Cells Are More Susceptible to Subchronic Repeated Exposures of Aerosolized Carbon Nanotubes At Occupationally Relevant Doses Than Healthy Cells

DOI: 10.1021/acsnano.7b01992

Savvina Chortarea,1 Hana Barosova,1 Martin James David Clift,2 Peter Wick,3 Alke Petri-Fink,1,4 and Barbara Rothen-Rutishauser,1

1BioNanomaterials, Adolphe Merkle Institute, University of Fribourg, CH-1700 Fribourg, Switzerland
2In Vitro Toxicology Group, Swansea University Medical School, Swansea SA2 8PP, Wales, U.K.
3Laboratory for Materials-Biology Interactions, Empa, Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials, Science and Technology, 9014 St Gallen, Switzerland
4Department of Chemistry, University of Fribourg, CH-1700 Fribourg, Switzerland

The aim of this study was to realistically mimic subchronic inhalation of multiwalled carbone nanotubes in vitro, using the air−liquid interface cell exposure system for aerosol exposures on reconstituted human bronchial tissue from healthy and asthmatic donors. Cytotoxicity, cell morphology, cilia beating frequency, mucociliary clearance, gene expression analysis of oxidative stress and (pro‑)inflammatory markers as well as (pro‑)inflammatory cytokine secretion were successfully observed.


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14. Aug. 2016

Copper oxide nanoparticles: Impact on alveolar epithelial-like cells following air-liquid interface exposure

EEMGS Annual Meeting: 14 – 18 August 2016, Copenhagen, Denmark


Matthias Hufnagel, Sarah Schoch, Bettina Fischer, Andrea Hartwig
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Institute of Applied Biosciences, Department of Food Chemistry and Toxicology

This is work is part of ProCycle (No. 03XP0009), a project funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research.and shows the exposition of copper oxide (CuO) nanoparticles on A549 cells at different doses in the VITROCELL® Cloud, equipped with a quartz crystal microbalance. The effects were determined using the colony formation assay (CFA) and high-throughput RT-qPCR gene expression analyses.

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29. Sep. 2015

Assessment of a panel of interleukin-8 reporter lung epithelial cell lines to monitor the pro-inflammatory response following zinc oxide nanoparticle exposure

DOI 10.1186/s12989-015-0104-6

Linda C. Stoehr1,2†, Carola Endes3†, Isabella Radauer-Preiml1, Matthew S. P. Boyles1, Eudald Casals4, Sandor Balog5, Markus Pesch2, Alke Petri-Fink3, Barbara Rothen-Rutishauser3, Martin Himly1, Martin J. D. Clift3 and Albert Duschl1*

1Department of Molecular Biology, University of Salzburg, Hellbrunnerstrasse 34, 5020 Salzburg, Austria.

2Grimm Aerosol Technik GmbH & Co. KG, Ainring, Germany.
3BioNanomaterials, Adolphe Merkle Institute, Université de Fribourg, Fribourg, Switzerland.
4Institut Català de Nanotecnologia (ICN), Bellaterra, Spain.
5Soft Matter Scattering, Adolphe Merkle Institute, Université de Fribourg, Fribourg, Switzerland.
* Correspondence:

The use of fluorescence-based reporter cell lines can provide a useful tool in screening the pro-inflammatory response following NP exposure in the air-liquid interface. The results are shown in the IL-8 assay, qRT-PCR ans ELISA.

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27. Jun. 2015

Translocation of gold nanoparticles across the lung epithelial tissue barrier: Combining in vitro and in silico methods to substitute in vivo experiments

DOI 10.1186/s12989-015-0090-8

Gerald Bachler1,2, Sabrina Losert1,3, Yuki Umehara2, Natalie von Goetz1*, Laura Rodriguez-Lorenzo2, Alke Petri-Fink2,
Barbara Rothen-Rutishauser2 and Konrad Hungerbuehler1

1ETH Zürich, Institute for Chemical and Bioengineering, 8093 Zürich, Switzerland.
2University of Fribourg, Adolphe Merkle Institute, 1700 Fribourg, Switzerland.
3EMPA, Swiss Federal Laboratories for Material Science and Technology, 8600 Dübendorf, Switzerland.

* Correspondence:


This replacement study for animal testings shows aerosolized nanoparticles tested on monolayer epithelial cultures in the air-liquid interface to determine their translocation kinetics across the epithelial tissue barrier.

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2. Jun. 2015

VITROCELL User Group Meeting 2015

Presentation of new VITROCELL® products and experience exchange among international scientists from Europe, Japan, Korea and USA.

The focus of the event was to present new routes for dosimetry, to give an update on VITROCELL’s participation in major European research programs related to nanoparticles as well as the presentation of new products for 2015.

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