Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences

Talita Resende at the Forefront of a New Cutting Edge In-Vitro 3-D Cell Culture Method

May 11, 2018
Resende, Talita

Talita Pilar Resende, a graduate student in Dr. Connie Gebhart’s lab, was recently featured in National Hog Farmer Magazine for her study on a promising new in-vitro model for host-pathogen interactions. This study is a collaboration between the labs of Dr. Connie Gebhart (expert on proliferative enteropathy) and Dr. Milena Saqui-Salces (expert on gastrointestinal physiology of pigs). Resende is using the new method to study Lawsonia Intracellularis Pathogenesis, a intracellular bacterium that commonly affects pigs.

Previously, the traditional method of studying host-pathogen interactions was the standard in-vitro cell culture, grown artificially in a lab, as opposed to an in-vivo method experimenting on live animals. An in-vitro model is beneficial to researchers because it is easier to grow, observe, and control, along with the fact that it raises fewer ethical concerns.
The first step of Resende’s research was to prove that the traditional in-vitro model isn’t accurate to study the cellular proliferation caused by Lawsonia infection. Traditional in-vitro cultures usually only employ one type of cell, so they don’t paint a full picture of how a viral or bacterial infection affect the intestine. On top of that, Lawsonia cultures take much longer to grow than most other bacterial species, which complicates the execution of experiments in traditional in-vitro models.

Instead, Gebhart’s and Saqui-Salces’ teams are moving forward with a new cutting-edge “3-D” cell culture method that takes into account all the varieties of intestinal epithelium. The culture has been dubbed a “mini-gut”, because of its propensity to accurately reflect the function and structural organization of in-vivo intestinal cells. Resende looks to use the mini-gut to further study the mysterious mechanisms of Lawsonia infection and lay the groundwork for future findings concerning the bacteria. To learn more please visit the National Hog Farmer website.

By Gabriel Sinner