The development, validation, and in vivo testing of a high-precision bronchial epithelial lining fluid sampling device

Front Med (Lausanne). 2023 Jul 26;10:1172622. doi: 10.3389/fmed.2023.1172622. eCollection 2023.


INTRODUCTION: Analysis of respiratory biomarkers or pharmaceutical drug concentrations in bronchial epithelial lining fluid (bELF) using a high-precision sampling method is crucial for effective clinical respiratory diagnostics and research. Here, we utilized a cellulose matrix as an absorptive probe for bELF sampling, subsequently testing the design of a device and sampling technique in vivo.

METHODS: The absorptive matrix [Whatman® qualitative filter paper (Grade CF-12)] was first tested through tissue-contact experiments on porcine airway tissue. The absorption and elution capacity of the matrix, as well as the laboratory processing and analysis method, was validated with a range of Interleukin-8 (CXCL8) and C-Reactive protein (CRP) stock solutions. Subsequently, the device’s design was optimized for universal in-house production and both, safe and efficient sampling. The airway sampling method was then tested in a group of 10 patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). For each patient, a bELF sample was obtained using the newly developed bELF probe, as well as a reference 20 mL saline bronchial wash sample. Supernatants were assessed, using an immunoassay, for levels of the pro-inflammatory markers CXCL8, Myeloperoxidase (MPO), and CRP. The bELF samples were compared to bronchial wash.

RESULTS: The Whatman® qualitative filter paper (Grade CF-12) bELF probes adhered to porcine airway tissue, softening slightly upon wetting. The material maintained architectural integrity following the removal of the probes, leaving no residual fibers on the porcine airway mucosa. The bELF probe design was optimized for bronchoscopic delivery and in-house production. On average, a fully saturated bELF probe carried 32 μL of protein-rich fluid. The mean return of CXCL8 and CRP from samples collected from a serial dilution series (1, 5, 10, 20 ng/mL) was 69% (range 48%-87%). The bELF probe detected, on average, 7 (MPO), 14 (CRP), and 59 (CXCL8) times higher equivalent inflammatory protein concentrations in the collected bELF probe samples compared to the bronchial wash.

CONCLUSION: The bELF probe is an effective absorptive technology for high-precision bELF sampling without dilution. With a simple in-house production procedure and bronchoscopic sampling technique, this method can be introduced in any bronchoscopic center for a consistent sampling of bELF.

PMID:37564050 | PMC:PMC10410264 | DOI:10.3389/fmed.2023.1172622


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