Technical perspective of the modelThe laboratory model precisely mimics the pulmonary alveolar structure, that is the site of gas exchange with blood (it absorbs oxygen from the air and releases carbon dioxide from red blood cells). This model allows to study the response of lung tissue exposed to cigarette smoke or e-cig vapor.
The model consists of two different layers of cell cultures so that the alveolar structure is closely reproduced. Cell culture is the process of growing cells on a particular support and medium, under controlled conditions of nutrients and compounds needed for their right development (T). In particular, cell reproducing the lung epithelium were inserted in the upper part of the model (A) as it’s this respiratory tissue that makes contact with the air. Cell reproducing the lung endothelium, the layer that coats blood vessel and makes contact with red blood cells, were inserted in the bottom (B). Both kind of cells are growing on two sides of the same semipermeable membrane (M).
The explanation of the actual toxicity of a compound provided by this model is more complete and significant than that of models using only one cell layer, as the effects of smoking and vaping will be analyzed on the different kind of cells in contact with inhaled compounds.