The use of bacterial cellulose as a basement membrane improves the plausibility of the static in vitro blood-brain barrier model

Int J Biol Macromol. 2019 Apr 1;126:1002-1013. doi: 10.1016/j.ijbiomac.2018.12.257. Epub 2018 Dec 28.


There are several blood-brain barrier (BBB) models available for pharmaceutical research, but none of those are able to properly imitate the permeability of this special barrier. In this study, it is aimed to produce different BBB models with different cellular combinations and different basement membrane polymers, such as polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and bacterial cellulose (BC), which has not been used for BBB models before, to compare their barrier properties. Primary human brain microvascular endothelial cells were seeded on the luminal side and primary human astrocytes and/or primary human brain microvascular pericytes were seeded on the abluminal side of the membranes. Immunofluorescence (IF) staining results indicate that the expression of tight and adherence junction proteins increases on the 5th day of the cultivation. In accordance with Live-Dead staining results, IF images show that cells in the model lose their viability before the 10th day. Transendothelial electrical resistance (TEER) measurements indicate that BC membrane leads to statistically higher (p < 0.05) TEER values than the standard Transwell PET insert membrane. Sucrose and caffeine permeability values of all models are close to in vivo values. BC shows potential to be used as a more reliable basement membrane for BBB models for pharmaceutical research.

Keywords: Bacterial cellulose; Blood-brain barrier; in vitro model.

MeSH terms

  • Basement Membrane / metabolism*
  • Blood-Brain Barrier / metabolism*
  • Caffeine / metabolism
  • Calibration
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cellulose / metabolism*
  • Electric Impedance
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological*
  • Permeability
  • Sucrose / metabolism


  • Caffeine
  • Sucrose
  • Cellulose