Membrane-free culture and real-time barrier integrity assessment of perfused intestinal epithelium tubes

 

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In vitro models that better reflect in vivo epithelial barrier (patho-)physiology are urgently required to predict adverse drug effects. Here we introduce extracellular matrix-supported intestinal tubules in perfused microfluidic devices, exhibiting tissue polarization and transporter expression. Forty leak-tight tubules are cultured in parallel on a single plate and their response to pharmacological stimuli is recorded over 125 h using automated imaging techniques. A study comprising 357 gut tubes is performed, of which 93% are leak tight before exposure. EC50-time curves could be extracted that provide insight into both concentration and exposure time response. Full compatibility with standard equipment and user-friendly operation make this Organ-on-a-Chip platform readily applicable in routine laboratories.

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