Air liquid interface (ALI)-cultures are useful tools that allow the study of pulmonary models using primary human airway epithelial cells such as Human Bronchial Epithelial Cells (HBEpC). Since epithelial cells provide a protective layer between two environments, this epithelial barrier can be used to study drug uptake or cytotoxicity.
Epithelial cell barrier formation can be quantitatively measured using transepithelial electrical resistance (TEER) with a voltohmmeter. To establish ALI-cultures using our Air-Liquid Interface (ALI-Airway) Medium, cells need to seed on collagen type I coated Transwell® inserts and be allowed to grow to 100% confluence in our Airway Epithelial Cell Growth Medium in a liquid-covered culture.
Seeding of cells in early passage is best, with passage 3 giving optimal results. After reaching confluence, the medium should be switched to the ALI-Airway Medium and cells in the inserts should be exposed to air (airlift). Cells will then be stimulated by the effects of airlift and the ALI-Airway Medium to develop many tight junctions to form a selective barrier on the porous membrane of the insert.
To monitor barrier formation in real time the voltohmmeter with STX2 Chopstick® electrode set can be used without damaging the cells (e.g. World Precision Instruments®). From day 3 to 4 post-airlift epithelial barrier formation is significantly better in our ALI-Airway Medium compared to competitor 1 and competitor 2, as indicated by TEER-values. The early establishment of barrier integrity makes it easy to use this pulmonary model quickly without waiting for a complete differentiation.
In the first week of ALI-culture you can achieve guaranteed TEER values > 100 Ω*cm2 with our ALI-Airway Medium. For some ALI pre-screened HBEpC donors, as shown in the graph, the values even tend to be over > 1000 Ω*cm2. TEER values > 100 Ω*cm2 have been shown to be physiological relevant in rabbit airway epithelium . Other commercially available ALI-media tend to decline in their TEER-values after one week of ALI-culture. Instead of a decline of TEER-vales after the first week in ALI-culture our ALI-Airway Medium maintains the level of barrier formation.
In the second week of airlift we guarantee TEER values > 500 Ω*cm2. These TEER values are typically for HBEpC and can also be found in the literature in a range of 700 – 3.200 Ω*cm2 . Even in week 3 and 4 after starting the ALI-culture barrier integrity will not decline under a threshold of > 500 Ω*cm2. Optimal barrier integrity with a high degree of viable cells (> 70% viability) will be available for at least four weeks. The choice of the right ALI-medium is therefore essential for successful ALI-cultures.
The use of minimal or complex ALI-media have a large impact on the curve progression of TEER values . Other variations in TEER-values depend on the donor of the cell , the passage number of the cells, the right point of airlift with 100% confluent cells  and the temperature during TEER measurements . Physiological temperature (37°C) of the ALI-culture is recommended during TEER measurements. Rapid handling during measurements can reduce heat loss. Our ALI-Airway system minimizes variations and guarantees robust and reliable TEER-values over period of 4 weeks.
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