Advances, Challenges and Future Applications of Avian Intestinal in Vitro Models

Tessa Nash, Lonneke Vervelde*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

There is a rapidly growing interest in how the avian intestine is affected by dietary components and probiotic microorganisms as well as its role in the spread of infectious diseases in both the developing and developed world. A paucity of physiologically relevant models has limited research in this essential field of poultry gut health and led to an over reliance on the use of live birds for experiments. The intestine is characterised by a complex cellular composition with numerous functions, unique dynamic locations and interdependencies making this organ challenging to recreate in vitro. This review illustrates the in vitro tools which aim to recapitulate this intestinal environment; from the simplest
cell lines which mimic select features of the intestine but lack anatomical and physiological complexity, to the more recently developed complex 3D enteroids which recreate more of the intestine’s intricate microanatomy, heterogeneous cell populations and signalling gradients. We highlight the benefits and limitations of in vitro intestinal models and describe their current applications and future prospective utilisations in intestinal biology and pathology research. We
also describe the scope to improve on the current systems to include for example microbiota and a dynamic mechanical environment, vital components which enable the intestine to develop and maintain homeostasis in vivo. As this review explains, no one model is perfect but the key to choosing a model or combination of models is to carefully consider the purpose or scientific question.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)317-329
JournalAvian Pathology
Issue number4
Early online date31 May 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 31 May 2022

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Intestine
  • in vitro, model
  • epithelial cell line
  • tissue explant
  • organoid
  • enteroid
  • apical-out
  • infection
  • barrier
  • leukocyte


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