Bottom feeders

To determine intestinal absorption of drug candidates, researchers often rely on in vitro assays

Randall C Willis
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LIEGE, Belgium—To determine intestinal absorption of drug candidates, researchers often rely on in vitro assays using Caco-2 cells. Unfortunately, there is some argument on whether the assay truly mimics in vivo behavior in the absence of mucin-generating cells.
 
To address this issue, researchers at the University of Liege and Catholic University of Louvain recently co-cultured Caco-2 cells with mucin-producing HT29-5M21 cells and monitored their behavior in serum-free medium. They described their work in BMC Cell Biology.
 
Based on the expression of genetic markers, the researchers determined that co-culturing the cells did not change the phenotype of the cells. Furthermore, they found that co-cultured cells showed increased paracellular permeability to small molecules that correlated with the proportion of HT29 cells over Caco-2 cells. The researchers plan to use the assay to model human diseases such as celiac disease, which involves altered permeability.

Randall C Willis

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