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First Encounters

Utility of lab-grown 3D intestinal model complete with immune cells and microbiome for studying function in response to parasites

31 July 2022

First Encounters

When you meet someone new do you react differently depending on whether you’re alone or surrounded by friends and family? Cells of the body respond to intruding microbes in concert with their neighbours, but many experiments into how the gut interacts with external factors are based on single layers of particular cells in a dish. A new approach cultured a 3D model, pictured after exposure to bacteria, complete with intestinal lining (stained green and red) and immune cells (purple), allowing a more representative overview of interactions. With the culture established, the researchers tested the platform’s use, introducing elements such as parasitic worm excretions to observe the resulting physical and functional changes in the intestinal lining. They saw lifelike changes in the regulation of immune system proteins, confirming the model’s viability, and showcasing its potential to eavesdrop on the interactions between host and microbe.

Written by Anthony Lewis

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BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC Laboratory of Medical Sciences until Jul 2023, it is now run independently by a dedicated team of scientists and writers. The website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biology, and its influence on medicine. The ever-growing archive of more than 4000 research images documents over a decade of progress. Explore the collection and see what you discover. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.

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