Oertzenweg 19 b
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Cell lines matching the source epithelium are indispensable for investigating porcine intestinal transport and barrier properties on a subcellular or molecular level and furthermore help to reduce animal usage. The porcine jejunal cell line IPEC-J2 is established as an in vitro model for porcine infection studies but exhibits atypically high transepithelial resistances (TER) and only low active transport rates so that the effect of nutritional factors cannot be reliably investigated. This study aimed to properly remodel IPEC-J2 and then to re-characterize these cells regarding epithelial architecture, expression of barrier-relevant tight junction (TJ) proteins, adequate TER and transport function, and reaction to secretagogues. For this, IPEC-J2 monolayers were cultured on permeable supports, either under conventional (fetal bovine serum, FBS) or species-specific (porcine serum, PS) conditions. Porcine jejunal mucosa was analyzed for comparison. Main results were that under PS conditions (IPEC-J2/PS), compared to conventional FBS culture (IPEC-J2/FBS), the cell height increased 6-fold while the cell diameter was reduced by 50%. The apical cell membrane of IPEC-J2/PS exhibited typical microvilli. Most importantly, PS caused a one order of magnitude reduction of TER and of trans- and paracellular resistance, and a 2-fold increase in secretory response to forskolin when compared to FBS condition. TJ ultrastructure and appearance of TJ proteins changed dramatically in IPEC-J2/PS. Most parameters measured under PS conditions were much closer to those of typical pig jejunocytes than ever reported since the cell line's initial establishment in 1989. In conclusion, IPEC-J2, if cultured under defined species-specific conditions, forms a suitable model for investigating porcine paracellular intestinal barrier function.