A microdevice for parallelized pulmonary permeability studies

L. Bol , J.C. Galas , H. Hillaireau , I. Le Potier , V. Nicolas , A.M. Haghiri-Gosnet , E. Fattal , M. Taverna

Bibtex , URL
Biomed. Microdevices, 16, 2
Published 01 Apr. 2014
DOI: 10.1007/s10544-013-9831-3
ISSN: 1387-2176


We describe a compartmentalized microdevice specifically designed to perform permeability studies across a model of lung barrier. Epithelial cell barriers were reproduced by culturing Calu-3 cells at the air-liquid interface (AIC) in 1 mm(2) microwells made from a perforated glass slide with an embedded porous membrane. We created a single basolateral reservoir for all microwells which eliminated the need to renew the growth medium during the culture growth phase. To perform drug permeability studies on confluent cell layers, the cell culture slide was aligned and joined to a collection platform consisting in 35 mu L collection reservoirs connected at the top and bottom with microchannels. The integrity and functionality of the cell barriers were demonstrated by measurement of trans-epithelial electrical resistance (TEER), confocal imaging and permeability assays of C-14-sucrose. Micro-cell barriers were able to form confluent layers in 1 week, demonstrating a similar bioelectrical evolution as the Transwell systems used as controls. Tight junctions were observed throughout the cell-cell interfaces, and the low permeability coefficients of C-14-sucrose confirmed their functional presence, creating a primary barrier to the diffusion of solutes. This microdevice could facilitate the monitoring of biomolecule transport and the screening of formulations promoting their passage across the pulmonary barrier, in order to select candidates for pulmonary administration to patients.