Towards embedding Caco-2 model of gut interface in a microfluidic device to enable multi-organ models for systems biology
A cancer cell line originating from human epithelial colorectal adenocarcinoma (Caco-2 cells) serves as a high capacity model for a preclinical screening of drugs. Recent need for incorporating barrier tissue into multi-organ chips calls for inclusion of Caco-2 cells into microperfused environment. This article describes a series of systems biology insights obtained from comparing Caco-2 models cells grown as conventional 2D layer and in a microfluidic chip. When basic electrical parameters of Caco-2 monolayers were evaluated using impedance spectrometry and MTT assays, no differences were noted. On the other hand, the microarray profiling of mRNAs and miRNAs revealed that grows on a microfluidic chip leads to the change in the production of specific miRNA, which regulate a set of genes for cell adhesion molecules (CAMs), and provide for more complete differentiation of Caco-2 monolayer. Moreover, the sets of miRNAs secreted at the apical surface of Caco-2 monolayers grown in conventional 2D culture and in microfluidic device differ. When integrated into a multi-tissue platform, Caco-2 cells may aid in generating insights into complex pathophysiological processes, not possible to dissect in conventional cultures.