Two- and Three-Dimensional Bioengineered Human Intestinal Tissue Models for Cryptosporidium

  • Daviel Cardenas
  • Seema Bhalchandra
  • Hymlaire Lamisere
  • Ying Chen
  • Xi-Lei Zeng
  • Sasirekha Ramani
  • Umesh C. Karandikar
  • David L. Kaplan
  • Mary K. Estes
  • Honorine D. WardEmail author
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 2052)


Conventional cell cultures utilizing transformed or immortalized cell lines or primary human epithelial cells have played a fundamental role in furthering our understanding of Cryptosporidium infection. However, they remain inadequate with respect to their inability to emulate in vivo conditions, support long-term growth, and complete the life cycle of the parasite. Previously, we developed a 3D silk scaffold-based model using transformed human intestinal epithelial cells (IECs). This model supported C. parvum infection for up to 2 weeks and resulted in completion of the life cycle of the parasite. However, transformed IECs are not representative of primary human IEC.

Human intestinal enteroids (HIEs) are cultures derived from crypts that contain Lgr5+ stem cells isolated from human biopsies or surgical intestinal tissues; these established multicellular cultures can be induced to differentiate into enterocytes, enteroendocrine cells, goblet cells, Paneth cells, and tuft cells. HIEs better represent human intestinal structure and function than immortalized IEC lines. Recently, significant progress has been made in the development of technologies to culture HIEs in vitro. When grown in a 3D matrix, HIEs provide a spatial organization resembling the native human intestinal epithelium. Additionally, they can be dissociated and grown as monolayers in tissue culture plates, permeable supports or silk scaffolds that enable mechanistic studies of pathogen infections. They can also be co-cultured with other human cells such as macrophages and myofibroblasts. The HIEs grown in these novel culture systems recapitulate the physiology, the 3D architecture, and functional diversity of native intestinal epithelium and provide a powerful and promising new tool to study Cryptosporidium–host cell interactions and screen for interventions ex vivo. In this chapter, we describe the 3D silk scaffold-based model using transformed IEC co-cultured with human intestinal myofibroblasts and 2D and 3D HIE-derived models of Cryptosporidium, also co-cultured with human intestinal myofibroblasts.


Three dimensional Intestinal Tissue Organoid Enteroid Stem cell Monolayer Drug screen Permeable support Transwell Silk scaffold 



Work in the authors’ laboratories was supported by NIH U19AI131126 (to HW, Project 3; to DK, Core); NIH R21AI120932 (to HW); NIH R21AI128342 (to HW, DK); Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation OPP1164543 (to HW); NIH U19AI16497 (to ME); NIH P30DK56338 (to Hashem El-Serag).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daviel Cardenas
    • 1
  • Seema Bhalchandra
    • 1
  • Hymlaire Lamisere
    • 2
  • Ying Chen
    • 3
  • Xi-Lei Zeng
    • 4
  • Sasirekha Ramani
    • 4
  • Umesh C. Karandikar
    • 4
  • David L. Kaplan
    • 2
    • 3
  • Mary K. Estes
    • 4
  • Honorine D. Ward
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Tufts Medical CenterBostonUSA
  2. 2.Tufts University Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical SciencesBostonUSA
  3. 3.Tufts University School of EngineeringMedfordUSA
  4. 4.Baylor College of MedicineHoustonUSA

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