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TEER measurements on perfused membrane-free epithelia

Leiden, April 16, 2021 – Scientists from MIMETAS, Sciospec and Leiden University introduce an instrument that measures TransEpithelial Electrical Resistance (TEER) of perfused epithelial tubes in the microfluidic OrganoPlate® platform. The research is recently published in the Journal Lab on a Chip.

Electrical measurement of the impedance is the gold standard for assessing the barrier function of epithelia in vitro. This so-called TEER measurement correlates electrical properties of an epithelial layer with biological aspects such as cell layer confluency and thickness, tight junction formation, and morphology. Assessment of epithelial barrier function is critically important for studying healthy and diseased biological models.

TEER properties were investigated of the intestinal carcinoma cell line Caco-2 as well as the quasi-immortalized renal proximal tubule cell line RPTEC. Our measurements confirmed increasing TEER values with tubular growth over time and decreasing values in response to toxic compounds.

To our best knowledge, this is the first instrument of its kind that allows routine TEER studies in perfused Organ-on-a-Chip systems without interference by artificial filter membranes. By not using a porous membrane, our setup allows to directly measure the TEER of the cell layer only, avoiding skewing the results by membrane characteristics such as pore size and density, as well as compensation for ECM coating and/or deposition.

The instrument is revolutionary in terms of its throughput, ease-of-use, and capability to interrogate epithelia under flow and without interference of porous membranes. We anticipate its routine use in both academic research and pharmaceutical development.

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