Development of glandular models from human nasal progenitor cells

Xiaofang Wu, Remy Mimms, Maureen Banigan, Michael Lee, Viktoria Elkis, Jennifer R. Peters-Hall, Humaira Mubeen, Andrew Joselow, Maria T. Peña, Mary C. Rose

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Hyperplasia/hypertrophy of submucosal glands contributes to mucus overproduction in chronic diseases of the upper and lower respiratory tracts, especially in adult and pediatric chronic rhinosinusitis. Mechanisms that lead to glandular hyperplasia/hypertrophy are markedly understudied, reflecting a lack of in vitro model systems wherein airway epithelial progenitor cells differentiate into glandular cells. In this study, we developed and compared several in vitro three-dimensional systems using human nasal epithelial basal cells (HNEBCs) cultured by different methods on two types of extracellular matrices. We demonstrate that HNEBCs cultured on Matrigel (Corning, Tewksbury, MA) form glandular acini-like structures, whereas HNEBCs embedded in a collagen type I matrix form a network of tubules. Fibroblast-conditioned medium increases tubule formation in collagen type I. In contrast, HNEBCs cocultured with fibroblasts self-aggregate into organotypic structures with tubules and acini. These observations provide morphological evidence that HNEBCs are pluripotent and retain the capacity to differentiate into structures resembling specific structural components of submucosal glands depending on the extracellular matrices and culture conditions. The resultant models should prove useful in targeting cross-talk between epithelial cells and fibroblasts to decipher molecular mechanisms and specific signals responsible for the development of glandular hyperplasia/hypertrophy, which in turn may lead to new therapeutic strategies for chronic rhinosinusitis and other inflammatory respiratory diseases characterized by glandular hyperplasia/hypertrophy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)535-542
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican journal of respiratory cell and molecular biology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Molecular Biology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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