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BioMed Research International
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 734137, 15 pages
Research Article

The CULTEX RFS: A Comprehensive Technical Approach for the In Vitro Exposure of Airway Epithelial Cells to the Particulate Matter at the Air-Liquid Interface

1Cultex Laboratories GmbH, Feodor-Lynen-Straße 21, 30625 Hannover, Germany
2Halter Engineering GmbH, Huebstraße 16, 9100 Herisau, Switzerland
3Von der Hardt 16, 57392 Oberkirchen, Germany

Received 8 October 2012; Revised 23 November 2012; Accepted 16 December 2012

Academic Editor: Abderrahim Nemmar

Copyright © 2013 Michaela Aufderheide et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The EU Regulation on Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) demands the implementation of alternative methods for analyzing the hazardous effects of chemicals including particulate formulations. In the field of inhalation toxicology, a variety of in vitro models have been developed for such studies. To simulate the in vivo situation, an adequate exposure device is necessary for the direct exposure of cultivated lung cells at the air-liquid interface (ALI). The CULTEX RFS fulfills these requirements and has been optimized for the exposure of cells to atomized suspensions, gases, and volatile compounds as well as micro- and nanosized particles. This study provides information on the construction and functional aspects of the exposure device. By using the Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) analysis, the technical design was optimized to realize a stable, reproducible, and homogeneous deposition of particles. The efficiency of the exposure procedure is demonstrated by exposing A549 cells dose dependently to lactose monohydrate, copper(II) sulfate, copper(II) oxide, and micro- and nanoparticles. All copper compounds induced cytotoxic effects, most pronounced for soluble copper(II) sulfate. Micro- and nanosized copper(II) oxide also showed a dose-dependent decrease in the cell viability, whereby the nanosized particles decreased the metabolic activity of the cells more severely.