New Culture Technology for Functional Intestinal Assays

During the last decade, intestinal organoids have emerged as a crucial tool to study intestinal biology in vitro. However, their sphere-like geometry limits the access to the organoid’s lumen hampering their use in many functional experiments where independent access to the different sides of the epithelium is required.

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Researchers at IBEC led by Dr. Elena Martínez, in collaboration with IRB, described in a paper published in Scientific Reports a simple method to generate intestinal epithelial monolayers on thin Matrigel® films.

These monolayers recapitulate the in vivo-like cell type composition and organization in a tissue culture format that allows independent access to the apical and basolateral compartments. As a unique characteristic, these epithelial monolayers form functional epithelial barriers with an accessible surface and physiologically relevant electrical properties.

This technology offers an up-to-date physiologically relevant intestinal culture method compatible with functional assays such as drug absorption, intracellular trafficking and microbe-epithelium interaction assays.

Reference article: Altay et al. (2019). Self-organized intestinal epithelial monolayers in crypt and villus-like domains show effective barrier function. Scientific Reports volume9, 10140.