A serious challenge for researchers in biomedical and clinical research lies in the procurement of relevant in vitro models. For COVID-19 related research, lung epithelial cells are currently tested as a platform and more primary cell types can be used by researchers. These primary cell types are generally reported to be associated with COVID-19 infections and related syndromes. In this article, we shed light on some relevant cell culture models that can be physiologically relevant to the cause of COVID-19 research.
Bronchial Epithelial Cells
Human Primary Bronchial Epithelial Cells can be an excellent platform for research on the function and pathology of COVID-19 in the respiratory system. These cells can be used for drug discovery screening in 3D models. The primary function of bronchial epithelial cells lies in being a defensive barrier between the external and the internal environment, making it a target of inhaled hazards like SARS-CoV2 viruses. These cells also serve as effectors to orchestrate inflammatory responses by releasing cytokines. Bronchial epithelial cells have been extensively used in chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder and therefore, can provide a great platform for COVID-19 research.
Human Small Airway Epithelial Cells
Small airway epithelial cells are isolated from the distal portion of lung tissue in the bronchiole area and they provide a great in vitro model for immunology and pharmaceutical drug discovery studies. The small airway epithelial cells form a lining that offers an immunology barrier against external hazards like viruses to protect the underlying submucosa. Studies have reported that `small airway epithelial cells are targeted in bronchiolitis, COPD, pulmonary fibrosis, and lung cancer, all of which are severe COVID-19 associated disorders. Therefore, human small airway epithelial cells can be a good model to study COVID-19 related pathology and drug screening.
Pulmonary Vascular Endothelial Cells
Pulmonary vascular endothelial cells line the lung vasculature to accommodate blood flow. Lung endothelial cells regulate the vascular tone by regulating nitric oxide and endothelin-1 molecules. Cytokines and growth factors can be secreted by pulmonary endothelial cells with positive and adverse effects. These cells have been used by several researchers in studying ARDS and pneumonia, therefore suggesting crucial applications in studies concerned with COVID-based respiratory diseases.
Kidney Fibroblast Cells
In addition to lung alveolar cells, ACE2 expression can be found in Kidney Fibroblast. Whether the ACE2 expression in these organs promotes SARS-CoV2 infection is unknown. However, these cells can help in studying acute kidney diseases which have been reported as COVID-19 co-morbidities. Therefore, these cells can be a good platform for COVID-19 research.
Other Primary cells that can be used for COVID-19 research include:
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