Three-dimensional rotating wall vessel-derived cell culture models for studying virus-host interactions

Jameson K. Gardner, Melissa M. Herbst-Kralovetz

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


The key to better understanding complex virus-host interactions is the utilization of robust three-dimensional (3D) human cell cultures that effectively recapitulate native tissue architecture and model the microenvironment. A lack of physiologically-relevant animal models for many viruses has limited the elucidation of factors that influence viral pathogenesis and of complex host immune mechanisms. Conventional monolayer cell cultures may support viral infection, but are unable to form the tissue structures and complex microenvironments that mimic host physiology and, therefore, limiting their translational utility. The rotating wall vessel (RWV) bioreactor was designed by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to model microgravity and was later found to more accurately reproduce features of human tissue in vivo. Cells grown in RWV bioreactors develop in a low fluid-shear environment, which enables cells to form complex 3D tissue-like aggregates. A wide variety of human tissues (from neuronal to vaginal tissue) have been grown in RWV bioreactors and have been shown to support productive viral infection and physiological meaningful host responses. The in vivo-like characteristics and cellular features of the human 3D RWV-derived aggregates make them ideal model systems to effectively recapitulate pathophysiology and host responses necessary to conduct rigorous basic science, preclinical and translational studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number304
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 9 2016


  • Bioreactor
  • Emerging viruses
  • Host immune mechanisms
  • Human tissue engineering
  • In vitro cell culture
  • Infectious disease
  • Low fluid-shear
  • Organotypic
  • Pathophysiology
  • Viral pathogenesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Virology


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