Gelatin sponge-supported histoculture of human nasal mucosa

Katrin Schierhorn, Tilo Brunnée, Ralf Paus, Klaus Detlev Schultz, Jochen Niehus, Parwis Agha-Mir-Salim, Gert Kunkel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Considerable progress has recently been made in the understanding of airway inflammation by cell culture assays and in vivo provocation studies. Inasmuch as ethical considerations limit experimental work in humans, physiologically relevant in vitro models are required to better understand cellular and molecular tissue interactions in human nasal mucosa. Here we describe a human nasal mucosa culture model utilizing a simple gelatin sponge-supported histoculture system at the air-liquid interface. Viable mucosa was preserved for at least 48 h, as shown by morphology and immunohistochemical staining with Ki-67 as marker for proliferation. Pro-inflammatory mediators (kinins, histamine, thromboxane B2, prostaglandin F, and substance P) are detectable in serum-containing as well as serum-free culture medium. Incubation with 10−8M substance P increases the number of degranulated mast cells after 48 h by 26% (P<0.01). In this model, biochemical responses can be correlated with histologic alterations of the target tissue. Inflammatory parameters can be examined and compared in various patient groups and different stimulators/inhibitors. This culture method provides a valuable research tool for analyzing all compartments present in nasal mucosa under physiologically relevant conditions, and for studying complex interactions and responses of mucosal cell populations in their natural tissue environment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)215-220
Number of pages6
JournalIn Vitro Cellular & Developmental Biology - Animal: Journal of the Society for In Vitro Biology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1995
Externally publishedYes


  • histoculture
  • human nasal mucosa
  • in vitro
  • inflammation
  • pathophysiology
  • substance P

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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