Jorn Meekel et al. (Vascular Surgery, VU University Medical Center) published a paper in Nature Scientific Reports about their findings to keep human aortic tissue sections functionally and structurally intact. The work was for a large part supported by the AO|2M core facility, using both widefield and confocal microscopes


“The pathophysiology of aortic aneurysms (AA) is far from being understood. One reason for this lack of understanding is basic research being constrained to fxated cells or isolated cell cultures, by which cell-to-cell and cell-to-matrix communications are missed. We present a new, in vitro method for extended preservation of aortic wall sections to study pathophysiological processes. Intraoperatively harvested, live aortic specimens were cut into 150μm sections and cultured. Viability was quantifed up to 92 days using immunofuorescence. Cell types were characterized using immunostaining. After 14 days, individual cells of enzymatically digested tissues were examined for cell type and viability. Analysis of AA sections (N=8) showed a viability of 40% at 7 days and smooth muscle cells, leukocytes, and macrophages were observed. Protocol optimization (N=4) showed higher stable viability at day 62 and proliferation of new cells at day 92. Digested tissues showed diferent cell types and a viability up to 75% at day 14. Aortic tissue viability can be preserved until at least 62 days after harvesting. Cultured tissues can be digested into viable single cells for additional techniques. Present protocol provides an appropriate ex vivo setting to discover and study pathways and mechanisms in cultured human aneurysmal aortic tissue.”


The article can be accessed through this link.