A Novel Method for Isolating Individual Cellular Components from the Adult Human Distal Lung

Department of Advanced Preventive Medicine for Infectious Disease, Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine, Aobaku, Sendai, Japan.
American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology (Impact Factor: 3.99). 10/2011; 46(4):422-30. DOI: 10.1165/rcmb.2011-0172OC
Source: PubMed


A variety of lung diseases, such as pulmonary emphysema and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, develop in the lung alveoli. Multiple cell types are localized in the alveoli, including epithelial, mesenchymal, and endothelial cells. These resident cells participate in the pathogenesis of lung disease in various ways. To elaborate clearly on the mechanisms of these pathologic processes, cell type-specific analyses of lung disease are required. However, no method exists for individually isolating the different types of cells found in the alveoli. We report on the development of a FACS-based method for the direct isolation of individual cell types from the adult human distal lung. We obtained human lung tissue from lung resections, and prepared single-cell suspension. After depleting CD45-positive cells, a combination of antibodies against epithelial cell adhesion molecule (EpCAM), T1α, and vascular endothelial (VE)-cadherin as used to delineate alveolar cell types. Alveolar Type II cells were highly purified in the EpCAM(hi)/T1α(-) subset, whereas the EpCAM(+)/T1α(-/low) subset contained a mixed epithelial population consisting of alveolar Type I and bronchiolar epithelial cells. The EpCAM(-)/T1α(-) subset included both microvascular endothelial and mesenchymal cells, and these were separated by immunoreactivity to VE-cadherin. Lymphatic endothelial cells existed in the EpCAM(-)/T1α(hi) subset. Isolated cells were viable, and further cell culture studies could be performed. These results suggest that this novel method enables the isolation of different cellular components from normal and diseased lungs, and is capable of elucidating phenotypes specific to certain alveolar cell types indicative of lung disease.

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    • "A previous study showing numerous differences in gene expression between freshly isolated rat AT1 cells and monolayers from primary rat AT2 cells cultured for 7 days to an “AT1-like” cell phenotype has led to an assumption that AT2 cells “de-differentiate” in vitro rather than transition into AT1 cells [20]. However, Fujino, et al., recently reported a FACS-based method for separating multiple viable cell populations from the adult human distal lung [47] using EpCAM, T1α, and VE-cadherin antibodies; immunofluorescence of the EpCAM+/T1α– subpopulation revealed this fraction to be nearly pure hAT2 cells, with 94% of cells expressing pro-SP-C. That the FACS-isolated hAT2 sub-population, cultured on collagen 1-coated slides for IF, continued to express pro-SP-C on Day 2 after seeding (the equivalent of our Day 1) and by Day 7 was expressing both AQP5 and T1α suggests that collagen 1 promotes transdifferentiation. "
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    ABSTRACT: It is generally accepted that the surfactant-producing pulmonary alveolar epithelial type II (AT2) cell acts as the progenitor of the type I (AT1) cell, but the regulatory mechanisms involved in this relationship remain the subject of active investigation. While previous studies have established a number of specific markers that are expressed during transdifferentiation from AT2 to AT1 cells, we hypothesized that additional, previously unrecognized, signaling pathways and relevant cellular functions are transcriptionally regulated at early stages of AT2 transition. In this study, a discovery-based gene expression profile analysis was undertaken of freshly isolated human AT2 (hAT2) cells grown on extracellular matrix (ECM) substrata known to either support (type I collagen) or retard (Matrigel) the early transdifferentiation process into hAT1-like cells over the first three days. Cell type-specific expression patterns analyzed by Illumina Human HT-12 BeadChip yielded over 300 genes that were up- or down-regulated. Candidate genes significantly induced or down-regulated during hAT2 transition to hAT1-like cells compared to non-transitioning hAT2 cells were identified. Major functional groups were also recognized, including those of signaling and cytoskeletal proteins as well as genes of unknown function. Expression of established signatures of hAT2 and hAT1 cells, such as surfactant proteins, caveolin-1, and channels and transporters, was confirmed. Selected novel genes further validated by qRT-PCR, protein expression analysis, and/or cellular localization included SPOCK2, PLEKHO1, SPRED1, RAB11FIP1, PTRF/CAVIN-1 and RAP1GAP. These results further demonstrate the utility of genome-wide analysis to identify relevant, novel cell type-specific signatures of early ECM-regulated alveolar epithelial transdifferentiation processes in vitro.
    PLoS ONE 04/2014; 9(4):e93413. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0093413 · 3.23 Impact Factor
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    • "The most widely used is a modification of a method first described by Dobbs and colleagues [3], in which AT2 cells are isolated from disaggregated lung tissue by IgG-panning and immunomagnetic leukocyte depletion. Recently, a number of investigators have developed protocols to enrich AT2 cells using flow cytometry on the basis of negative antibody-labeling [4,5]. While high cell purities of between 90 to 95% have been achieved using panning and flow cytometry techniques [5-7], these isolation methods rely on negative-selection and there is considerable variability in the yield and purity reported between groups. "
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    ABSTRACT: LysoTracker Green DND-26 is a fluorescent dye that stains acidic compartments in live cells and has been shown to selectively accumulate in lamellar bodies in alveolar type II (AT2) cells in the lung. The aim of this study was to determine whether the accumulation of LysoTracker in lamellar bodies can be used to isolate viable AT2 cells by flow cytometry and track their differentiation in live-cell culture by microscopy. Mouse lung cells were sorted on the basis of CD45negCD31negEpCAMposLysoTrackerpos expression and characterized by immunostaining for SP-C and cultured in a three-dimensional epithelial colony-forming unit (CFU-Epi) assay. To track AT2 cell differentiation, lung epithelial stem and progenitor cells were cultured in a CFU-Epi assay with LysoTracker-supplemented media. The purity of sorted AT2 cells as determined by SP-C staining was 97.4% and viability was 85.3%. LysoTrackerpos AT2 cells generated SP-Cpos alveolar epithelial cell colonies in culture, and when added to the CFU-Epi culture medium, LysoTracker marked the differentiation of stem/progenitor-derived AT2 cells. This study describes a novel method for isolating AT2 cells from mouse lungs. The high purity and viability of cells attained by this method, makes them suitable for functional analysis in vitro. The application of LysoTracker to live cell cultures will allow better assessment of the cellular and molecular mechanisms that regulate AT2 cell differentiation.
    Respiratory research 11/2013; 14(1):123. DOI:10.1186/1465-9921-14-123 · 3.09 Impact Factor
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    • "To investigate the changes in miR-21 expression in human lung epithelial cells from patients with IPF more precisely, we isolated alveolar type II cells from human lung specimens by flow cytometric cell sorting (Figure 4A) [20]. miR-21 expression was significantly higher in alveolar type II cells isolated from the lungs of IPF patients than in those present in non-fibrotic lungs (Figure 4B). "
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    ABSTRACT: The excess and persistent accumulation of fibroblasts due to aberrant tissue repair results in fibrotic diseases such as idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. Recent reports have revealed significant changes in microRNAs during idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and evidence in support of a role for microRNAs in myofibroblast differentiation and the epithelial-mesenchymal transition in the context of fibrosis. It has been reported that microRNA-21 is up-regulated in myofibroblasts during fibrosis and promotes transforming growth factor-beta signaling by inhibiting Smad7. However, expression changes in microRNA-21 and the role of microRNA-21 in epithelial-mesenchymal transition during lung fibrosis have not yet been defined. Lungs from saline- or bleomycin-treated C57BL/6 J mice and lung specimens from patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis were analyzed. Enzymatic digestions were performed to isolate single lung cells. Lung epithelial cells were isolated by flow cytometric cell sorting. The expression of microRNA-21 was analyzed using both quantitative PCR and in situ hybridization. To induce epithelial-mesenchymal transition in culture, isolated mouse lung alveolar type II cells were cultured on fibronectin-coated chamber slides in the presence of transforming growth factor-beta, thus generating conditions that enhance epithelial-mesenchymal transition. To investigate the role of microRNA-21 in epithelial-mesenchymal transition, we transfected cells with a microRNA-21 inhibitor. Total RNA was isolated from the freshly isolated and cultured cells. MicroRNA-21, as well as mRNAs of genes that are markers of alveolar epithelial or mesenchymal cell differentiation, were quantified using quantitative PCR. The lung epithelial cells isolated from the bleomycin-induced lung fibrosis model system had decreased expression of epithelial marker genes, whereas the expression of mesenchymal marker genes was increased. MicroRNA-21 was significantly upregulated in isolated lung epithelial cells during bleomycin-induced lung fibrosis and human idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. MicroRNA-21 was also upregulated in the cultured alveolar epithelial cells under the conditions that enhance epithelial-mesenchymal transition. Exogenous administration of a microRNA-21 inhibitor prevented the increased expression of vimentin and alpha-smooth muscle actin in cultured primary mouse alveolar type II cells under culture conditions that induce epithelial-mesenchymal transition. Our experiments demonstrate that microRNA-21 is increased in lung epithelial cells during lung fibrosis and that it promotes epithelial-mesenchymal transition.
    Respiratory research 09/2013; 14(1):95. DOI:10.1186/1465-9921-14-95 · 3.09 Impact Factor
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