Reliable, reproducible, robust: morph_ONE for high content image analysis of the lung 

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Reliable, reproducible, robust: morph_ONE for high content image analysis of the lung 

morph_ONE is a reproducible, mechanistic-driven assay that reveals how inhaled substances affect more than a dozen morphological and biochemical features of alveolar macrophages. The assay helps companies and researchers to correctly interpret the response of the immune system in the lungs to inhaled chemical products, improving product development and ensuring safety as well as saving time and money. 

Evaluating inhalation toxicity potential is key to establish the safety of new inhaled drugs, chemical products like pesticides or agrochemicals, or consumer goods. Alveolar macrophages are the first line of defence against invading pathogens, and their response can indicate that a particular chemical is harmful to human lung tissue. However, there are different degrees of alveolar macrophage response, and high content image analysis assays such as morph_ONE can help companies and researchers to identify which responses are unacceptable, and which are not, allowing relevant decisions to be made about product development.  

Distinguishing different levels of alveolar macrophage responses 

ImmuONE’s new service morph_ONE is a reproducible, mechanistic-driven cell painting assay that can differentiate alveolar macrophage responses in vitro and match them to compounds with varying safety profiles. morph_ONE reveals how inhaled substances affect more than a dozen morphological features of macrophages, including sphericity, cell and nuclear area, shape analysis and vacuolation profiles. Currently, there is no established in vitro assessment that can provide morphometric characteristics of alveolar macrophages, so morph_ONE fills a crucial gap in the market. 

Through individual cell analysis and layering of cellular features, ImmuONE can generate phenotypic profiles to demonstrate how alveolar macrophage respond to compounds of interest. Our scientists can then determine whether these new compounds are safe by comparing their phenotypic profiles to those in our reference database. The assay correlates with in vivo findings, reducing reliance on animal studies, which can be expensive and time-consuming. 

Figuring out foamy macrophage responses 

A major hurdle in the development of new inhaled products is the observation of foamy macrophage responses in animal studies. Foamy macrophage responses raise safety concerns and hinder progress, even though little is known about whether these responses are truly harmful to the lungs. 

Our research shows that morph_ONE can identify foamy macrophage phenotypes linked to phospholipidosis and apoptosis, making it a promising in vitro screening tool for the safety assessment of inhaled products. Our researchers harbour specific unique expertise in this niche area, offering guidance and support to help decision-makers make more informed choices along the product development pipeline. 

Want to find out how morph_ONE can help to address your risk safety questions? Get in touch with us today at  

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