A higher throughput and physiologically relevant two-compartmental human ex vivo intestinal tissue system for studying gastrointestinal processes

Eur J Pharm Sci. 2019 Sep 1;137:104989. doi: 10.1016/j.ejps.2019.104989. Epub 2019 Jul 10.


A majority of the preclinical intestinal screening models do not properly reflect the complex physiology of the human intestinal tract, resulting in low translational value to the clinical situation. The often used cell lines such as Caco-2 or HT-29 are not well suited to investigate the different processes that predict oral bioavailability in real life, or processes involved in general gut health aspects. Therefore, highly realistic models resembling the human in vivo situation are needed; application of ex vivo intestinal tissue is an interesting and feasible alternative. After previously using porcine intestinal tissue as a predictive model for human intestinal absorption, we now have successfully applied human intestinal tissue into a newly developed InTESTine™ two-compartmental disposable device suitable for standard 6- or 24-well plate format. With this set-up we demonstrated (regional differences in) drug absorption, by using a subset of compounds with known varying Fa (fraction absorbed) values. A rank-order relationship of R2 = 0.85 could be established between the Fa and Papp of these commercially available drugs. Additionally, comparison between the InTESTine system and the established Ussing chamber technology showed a correlation of R2 = 0.94 (10 drugs) with respect to Papp values, indicating good comparison of both models. Besides absorption, intestinal wall metabolism of testosterone (CYP3A4) was determined by showing a linear formation (R2 = 0.99; up to 165 min) of the main metabolites androstenedione and 6Beta-hydroxytestosterone, indicating no loss of metabolic capacity of the intestinal tissue within the system. Enteroendocrine responses were assessed of the satiety hormones GLP-1 and PYY after stimulation with rebaudioside A and casein, resulting in significantly increased secretion to the luminal side as well as to the basolateral side. Incubation with the probiotic strain LGG showed to enhance the viability of the tissue by showing to decrease the LDH secretion compared to blank intestinal tissue. In conclusion, we show that human ex vivo intestinal tissue mounted in the higher throughput InTESTine 6- 24-transwell plate system is easy to handle and a suitable system to study diverse functional GI processes.

Keywords: Human ex vivo tissue; InTESTine; Permeability; Predictive gut model; Transwell.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Animals
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Absorption*
  • Intestinal Mucosa / metabolism*
  • L-Lactate Dehydrogenase / metabolism
  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Biological*
  • Permeability
  • Probiotics


  • L-Lactate Dehydrogenase