Microphysiologic Human Tissue Constructs Reproduce Autologous Age-Specific BCG and HBV Primary Immunization in vitro

Guzman Sanchez-Schmitz*, Chad R. Stevens, Ian A. Bettencourt, Peter J. Flynn, Klaus Schmitz-Abe, Gil Metser, David Hamm, Kristoffer J. Jensen, Christine Benn, Ofer Levy

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Current vaccine development disregards human immune ontogeny, relying on animal models to select vaccine candidates targeting human infants, who are at greatest risk of infection worldwide, and receive the largest number of vaccines. To help accelerate and de-risk development of early-life effective immunization, we engineered a human age-specific microphysiologic vascular-interstitial interphase, suitable for pre-clinical modeling of distinct age-targeted immunity in vitro. Our Tissue Constructs (TCs) enable autonomous extravasation of monocytes that undergo rapid self-directed differentiation into migratory Dendritic Cells (DCs) in response to adjuvants and licensed vaccines such as Bacille Calmette-Guerin (BCG) or Hepatitis B virus Vaccine (HBV). TCs contain a confluent human endothelium grown atop a tri-dimensional human extracellular matrix substrate, employ human age-specific monocytes and autologous non heat-treated plasma, and avoid the use of xenogenic materials and exogenous cytokines. Vaccine-pulsed TCs autonomously generated DCs that induced single-antigen recall responses from autologous naive and memory CD4+ T lymphocytes, matching study participant immune-status, including BCG responses paralleling donor PPD status, BCG-induced adenosine deaminase (ADA) activity paralleling infant cohorts in vivo, and multi-dose HBV antigen-specific responses as demonstrated by lymphoproliferation and TCR sequencing. Overall, our microphysiologic culture method reproduced age- and antigen-specific recall responses to BCG and HBV immunization, closely resembling those observed after a birth immunization of human cohorts in vivo, offering for the first time a new approach to early pre-clinical selection of effective age-targeted vaccine candidates.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2634
JournalFrontiers in Immunology
Number of pages19
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Microphysiology
  • Model
  • Newborn
  • Vaccine
  • Immunization
  • Autologous
  • Tissue engineering


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