The chip mimics the intestines of a live animal; researchers will study cross-disturbances of host cells in the microbiome
Researchers at WSU are developing gut-on-chip technology to determine why E. coli can be fatal in dogs and humans.
E. colior E. coli, is a group of bacteria that live in the intestinal system of humans and animals. Some species are harmless, while others, such as Enterohemorrhagic E. coli, can cause intestinal problems, said Yoko Ambrosini, an assistant professor in the Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences.
If deadly, Enterohemorrhagic E. colior EHEC, could affect people’s immune systems and have life-threatening consequences, Ambrosini said.
The aim of the project is to study the change in the intestinal microenvironment that makes the disease life-threatening, she said. This can help scientists develop a treatment plan and improve public health.
“[Many] “People, especially people with weakened immune systems, can succumb to the disease,” she said. “It’s a well-known bacterial infection, but surprisingly, we don’t know much about the risk factor.”
E. inches is transmitted by faecal, food and water transmission. It is also obtained from raw vegetables, as contaminated water can enter the soil and compromise crops, said Douglas Cole, a professor at Paul G. Allen’s School of Global Health and associate director of research and graduate education.
To examine pathogenic cells, researchers will place samples in a microfluidic chip or gut on a chip. This chip is a dynamic, intact three-dimensional structure that models the intestinal microenvironment of a living animal. This is the bridge between in vitro, a controlled environment outside the living organism and living animal models, Cal said.
A small sample of intestinal epithelium, the lining of the gut, is extracted from the intestinal organelle, collected and placed on a cell culture chip, Ambrosini said.
Researchers can then study the host-pathogen interaction in vitro, Cal said.
“We usually look at cells lying on the bottom of a plate, which is called cell culture,” he said. “This is the workhorse for most host-pathogen interaction experiments. IN [Ambrosini’s] In this case, instead of using a layer of cells at the bottom of the plate, we have a three-dimensional structure.
The chip also allows researchers to introduce and study the disease in the sample without the use of live animals, Ambrosini said.
“[We] “Find out something that interests us in an in vitro environment because we can’t do unethical things like cause illness to our patient,” she said. “Instead, [we] in vitro study, [then] test this finding in our veterinary patients. “
The researchers will inject the virus into the chip and study cross-disturbances or the interaction of the host’s intestinal epithelial cells in the microbiome or cellular environment, Ambrosini said.
There is a group of bacteria in the microbiome known as faeces. Understanding how the microbiome affects the stool and vice versa may reveal why E. Coli becomes deadly, Ambrosini said.
Once the study is conducted in vitro, the results can eventually be translated into dog and human medicine, Ambrosini said.
“Let’s say the new treatment therapy [is] effective in dogs, “said Ambrosini.” Potentially we can translate this into human medicine, because many diseases occur in a similar way in humans and in this scenario in dogs.
The successful model will allow researchers to study how microcin, a killing molecule, can control EHEC infection. Microcin damages the bacterial membrane and can eventually kill it, Cal said.
“It’s a job for my lab and where we’re joining,” Cole said. “[Ambrosini] has a model and will help her consider whether we can use our small microphone or microcin to control infection from this point of view.
Ambrosini and Cal will also work with Hyun Jung Kim, an assistant professor at the University of Texas.
The two-year project started in April and is currently in its infancy. Research is expected to begin soon, Ambrosini said.