Alveolar Macrophage Assessments
Combining morphology and biochemical readouts to create mechanism-driven assessments
ImmuONE also offers a range of assessments to determine the effects of substances on alveolar macrophages. We can assess a wide array of endpoints for cell health, inflammation, biochemistry and function and use flow cytometry and high content image analysis (HCIA) to combine multiple cell features.


The challenge

The inhalation safety testing of new medicines and products often includes the analysis of alveolar macrophage responses. ImmuONE’s in vitro alveolar macrophage-like models can be used to generate reproducible quantitative data about macrophage responses to inhaled substances. Our research has shown that or high content image analysis (HCIA) of macrophages in monoculture can be used to differentiate between safe and unsafe immune responses to substances.

Many substances are deemed dangerous to humans after being shown to induce abnormal alveolar macrophage morphology, whereby the cell takes on a ‘foamy’ appearance. However, relatively little is known about the ‘foamy’ macrophage response and whether it truly is harmful to the lungs. ImmuONE examines the mechanisms and characteristics of the response and can directly correlate the results to in vivo equivalent studies. ImmuONE has cultivated specific expertise in this domain and our experts can guide you smoothly through the analysis of these results.

Our solutions

ImmuONE currently offers an expanding range of high content imaging assays for the inhalation safety assessment of a range of chemical and biological products. Each assay is designed to assess different aspects of macrophage health and function, such as cell shape, lipid accumulation and phagocytic activity. Our assays can enhance safety assessments, minimising failure of compound or product failures in later stages of development.


morph_ONE offers a detailed assessment of how inhaled substances affect the morphometric characteristics of alveolar macrophages. The assay combines over a dozen morphological features with cell health features. Aspects of morphology that we can assess include sphericity, cell and nuclear area, shape analysis and vacuolation profiles. Indicators of cell health include mitochondrial activity and membrane permeability.


Safety Assessment

Drug Discovery

Inhalation Studies

High-throughout screening

Inflammation Analysis

Through individual cell analysis and layering of cellular features, we can generate detailed phenotypic profiles to illustrate how macrophages respond to the compounds of interest. We have created a database of reference compounds with established in vivo responses, to which we can compare any result. By comparing the phenotypic profiles of new compounds to those in our reference database, we can predict whether these new compounds are safe.

Images of ImmuPHAGE™ before (left) and after (right) amiodarone exposure. ImmuPHAGE™, our human alveolar macrophage-like model, can be used in morph_ONE assays to provide mechanistic understanding and categorisation of macrophage response.


Our upcoming assay lipid_ONE is being designed to assess changes in phospholipid and neutral lipid content within cells. lipid_ONE will help predict how intracellular lipid profiles alter with compound exposure to provide mechanistic-driven safety approaches for a range of adverse responses (phospholipidosis, autophagy) and initiating events in disease (atherosclerosis, steatosis).


Our upcoming assay engulf_ONE has the purpose of being able to predict the fate of inhaled particles and aerosols in the lung. Insoluble particles in the lungs are engulfed and digested by alveolar macrophages. engulf_ONE will provide valuable information about compound fate and toxicity pathways. It does this by assessing the phagocytic activity of alveolar macrophages, 

Interested in our assays?

Follow the links below to see the morph_ONE datasheet and get in touch with a member of our team! We’d be delighted to discuss how our services could help you achieve your safety assessment goals.
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