Use of dual-flow bioreactor to develop a simplified model of nervous-cardiovascular systems crosstalk: A preliminary assessment

N. Marchesi, A. Barbieri, F. Fahmideh, S. Govoni, A. Ghidoni, G. Parati, E. Vanoli, A. Pascale, L. Calvillo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Chronic conditions requiring long-term rehabilitation therapies, such as hypertension, stroke, or cancer, involve complex interactions between various systems/organs of the body and mutual influences, thus implicating a multiorgan approach. The dual-flow IVTech Live-Box2 bioreactor is a recently developed inter-connected dynamic cell culture model able to mimic organ crosstalk, since cells belonging to different organs can be connected and grown under flow conditions in a more physiological environment. This study aims to setup for the first time a 2-way connected culture of human neuroblastoma cells, SH-SY5Y, and Human Coronary Artery Smooth Muscle Cells, HCASMC through a dual-flow IVTech Live-Box2 bioreactor, in order to represent a simplified model of nervous-cardiovascular systems crosstalk, possibly relevant for the above-mentioned diseases. The system was tested by treating the cells with 10nM angiotensin II (AngII) inducing PKCβII/HuR/VEGF pathway activation, since AngII and PKCβII/HuR/VEGF pathway are relevant in cardiovascular and neuroscience research. Three different conditions were applied: 1- HCASMC and SH-SY5Y separately seeded in petri dishes (static condition); 2- the two cell lines separately seeded under flow (dynamic condition); 3- the two lines, seeded in dynamic conditions, connected, each maintaining its own medium, with a membrane as interface for biohumoral changes between the two mediums, and then treated. We detected that only in condition 3 there was a synergic AngII-dependent VEGF production in SH-SY5Y cells coupled to an AngII-dependent PKCβII/HuR/VEGF pathway activation in HCASMC, consistent with the observed physiological response in vivo. HCASMC response to AngII seems therefore to be generated by/derived from the reciprocal cell crosstalk under the dynamic inter-connection ensured by the dual flow LiveBox 2 bioreactor. This system can represent a useful tool for studying the crosstalk between organs, helpful for instance in rehabilitation research or when investigating chronic diseases; further, it offers the advantageous opportunity of cultivating each cell line in its own medium, thus mimicking, at least in part, distinct tissue milieu. © 2020 Marchesi et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number11 November
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • ELAV like protein 1
  • protein kinase C beta
  • protein kinase C beta II
  • unclassified drug
  • vasculotropin
  • Article
  • cardiovascular system
  • CASMC cell line
  • cell culture
  • cell density
  • cell function
  • cell separation
  • cell viability
  • controlled study
  • enzyme linked immunosorbent assay
  • human
  • human cell
  • in vivo study
  • molecular dynamics
  • MTT assay
  • nervous system
  • neuroscience
  • SH-SY5Y cell line
  • signal transduction
  • Western blotting
  • biological model
  • bioreactor
  • cell communication
  • cytology
  • metabolism
  • nerve cell
  • smooth muscle cell
  • tumor cell line
  • Bioreactors
  • Cell Communication
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Humans
  • Models, Cardiovascular
  • Models, Neurological
  • Myocytes, Smooth Muscle
  • Neurons
  • Signal Transduction


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