Stiftung Tierärztliche Hochschule Hannover (TiHo)TiHo eLib

Caco-2/HT29-MTX co-cultured cells as a model for studying physiological properties and toxin-induced effects on intestinal cells

Infectious gastrointestinal diseases are frequently caused by toxins secreted by pathogens which may impair physiological functions of the intestines, for instance by cholera toxin or by heat-labile enterotoxin. To obtain a functional model of the human intestinal epithelium for studying toxin-induced disease mechanisms, differentiated enterocyte-like Caco-2 cells were co-cultured with goblet cell-like HT29-MTX cells. These co-cultures formed a functional epithelial barrier, as characterized by a high electrical resistance and the presence of physiological intestinal properties such as glucose transport and chloride secretion which could be demonstrated electrophysiologically and by measuring protein expression. When the tissues were exposed to cholera toxin or heat-labile enterotoxin in the Ussing chamber, cholera toxin incubation resulted in an increase in short-circuit currents, indicating an increase in apical chloride secretion. This is in line with typical cholera toxin-induced secretory diarrhea in humans, while heat-labile enterotoxin only showed an increase in short-circuit-current in Caco-2 cells. This study characterizes for the first time the simultaneous measurement of physiological properties on a functional and structural level combined with the epithelial responses to bacterial toxins. In conclusion, using this model, physiological responses of the intestine to bacterial toxins can be investigated and characterized. Therefore, this model can serve as an alternative to the use of laboratory animals for characterizing pathophysiological mechanisms of enterotoxins at the intestinal level.

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