Tissue-level alveolar epithelium model for recapitulating SARS-CoV-2 infection and cellular plasticity
Pulmonary sequelae following COVID-19 pneumonia have been emerging as a challenge; however, suitable cell sources for studying COVID-19 mechanisms and therapeutics are currently lacking. In this paper, we present a standardized primary alveolar cell culture method for establishing a human alveolar epithelium model that can recapitulate viral infection and cellular plasticity. The alveolar model is infected with a SARS-CoV-2 pseudovirus, and the clinically relevant features of the viral entry into the alveolar type-I/II cells, cytokine production activation, and pulmonary surfactant destruction are reproduced. For this damaged alveolar model, we find that the inhibition of Wnt signaling via XAV939 substantially improves alveolar repair function and prevents subsequent pulmonary fibrosis. Thus, the proposed alveolar cell culture strategy exhibits potential for the identification of pathogenesis and therapeutics in basic and translational research.
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Council of Agriculture