Published in: PLOS One
Analysis of enterovirus infection is difficult in animals because they express different virus receptors than humans, and static cell culture systems do not reproduce the physical com- plexity of the human intestinal epithelium. Here, using coxsackievirus B1 (CVB1) as a prototype enterovirus strain, we demonstrate that human enterovirus infection, replication and infectious virus production can be analyzed in vitro in a human Gut-on-a-Chip microfluidic device that supports culture of highly differentiated human villus intestinal epithelium under conditions of fluid flow and peristalsis-like motions. When CVB1 was introduced into the epithelium-lined intestinal lumen of the device, virions entered the epithelium, replicated inside the cells producing detectable cytopathic effects (CPEs), and both infectious virions and inflammatory cytokines were released in a polarized manner from the cell apex, as they could be detected in the effluent from the epithelial microchannel. When the virus was introduced via a basal route of infection (by inoculating virus into fluid flowing through a parallel lower ‘vascular’ channel separated from the epithelial channel by a porous membrane), significantly lower viral titers, decreased CPEs, and delayed caspase-3 activation were observed; however, cytokines continued to be secreted apically. The presence of continuous fluid flow through the epithelial lumen also resulted in production of a gradient of CPEs consistent with the flow direction. Thus, the human Gut-on-a-Chip may provide a suitable in vitro model for enteric virus infection and for investigating mechanisms of enterovirus pathogenesis.