Apical-out airway organoids as a platform for studying viral infections and screening for antiviral drugs

Georgios Stroulios, Tyler Brown, Giulia Moreni, Douglas Kondro, Alessandro Dei, Allen Eaves, Sharon Louis, Juan Hou, Wing Chang, Dasja Pajkrt, Katja C. Wolthers, Adithya Sridhar, Salvatore Simmini

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Airway organoids are polarized 3D epithelial structures that recapitulate the organization and many of the key functions of the in vivo tissue. They present an attractive model that can overcome some of the limitations of traditional 2D and Air–Liquid Interface (ALI) models, yet the limited accessibility of the organoids’ apical side has hindered their applications in studies focusing on host–pathogen interactions. Here, we describe a scalable, fast and efficient way to generate airway organoids with the apical side externally exposed. These apical-out airway organoids are generated in an Extracellular Matrix (ECM)-free environment from 2D-expanded bronchial epithelial cells and differentiated in suspension to develop uniformly-sized organoid cultures with robust ciliogenesis. Differentiated apical-out airway organoids are susceptible to infection with common respiratory viruses and show varying responses upon treatment with antivirals. In addition to the ease of apical accessibility, these apical-out airway organoids offer an alternative in vitro model to study host–pathogen interactions in higher throughput than the traditional air–liquid interface model.
Original languageEnglish
Article number7673
JournalScientific reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2022

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