<p>Respiratory tract infections (RTI) are a major cause of morbidity and mortality in humans. A large number of RTIs is caused by viruses, often resulting in more severe disease in infants, elderly and the immunocompromised. Upon viral infection, most individuals experience common cold-like symptoms associated with an upper RTI. However, in some cases a severe and sometimes life-threatening lower RTI may develop. Reproducible and scalable in vitro culture models that accurately reflect the human respiratory tract are needed to study interactions between respiratory viruses and the host, and to test novel therapeutic interventions. Multiple in vitro respiratory cell culture systems have been described, but the majority of these are based on immortalized cell lines. Although useful for studying certain aspects of viral infections, such monomorphic, unicellular systems fall short in creating an understanding of the processes that occur at an integrated tissue level. Novel in vitro models involving primary human airway epithelial cells and, more recently, human airway organoids, are now in use. In this review, we describe the evolution of in vitro cell culture systems and their characteristics in the context of viral RTIs, starting from advances after immortalized cell cultures to more recently developed organoid systems. Furthermore, we describe how these models are used in studying virus-host interactions, e.g. tropism and receptor studies as well as interactions with the innate immune system. Finally, we provide an outlook for future developments in this field, including co-factors that mimic the microenvironment in the respiratory tract.</p>

doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2021.683002, hdl.handle.net/1765/136588
Frontiers in Immunology
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

L.C. (Laurine) Rijsbergen, L.L.A. (Laura) van Dijk, Maarten F.M. Engel, R.D. (Rory) de Vries, & R.L. (Rik) de Swart. (2021). In Vitro Modelling of Respiratory Virus Infections in Human Airway Epithelial Cells – A Systematic Review. Frontiers in Immunology (Vol. 12). doi:10.3389/fimmu.2021.683002