The respiratory tract is the primary site of exposure to airborne compounds, with the bronchial epithelium providing one of the first lines of defence. A growing need exists for an accurate in vitro model of the bronchial epithelium. Here, normal human bronchial epithelial (NHBE) cells cultured at an air/liquid interface create a fully differentiated, in-vivo-like model of the human bronchial epithelium. Developmental characterisation includes (i) trans-epithelial electrical resistance, (ii) morphology and (iii) bronchial cell specific stains/markers. It is concluded that the basal/progenitor cells create a pseudo-stratified, mucociliary NHBE model containing basal, serous, Clara, goblet and ciliated cells, reflective of the normal human bronchial epithelium (days 24-33 ALI culture).
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