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Basement membrane influences intestinal epithelial cell growth and presents a barrier to the movement of macromolecules

Stolnik-Trenkic, Snow; Vllasaliua, Driton; Falcone, Franco H.; Garnett, Martin


Snow Stolnik-Trenkic

Driton Vllasaliua

Franco H. Falcone

Martin Garnett


This work examines the potential drug delivery barrier of the basement membrane (BM) by assessing the permeability of select macromolecules and nanoparticles. The study further extends to probing the effect of BM on intestinal epithelial cell attachment and monolayer characteristics, including cell morphology. Serum-free cultured Caco-2 cells were grown on BM-containing porous supports, which were obtained by prior culture of airway epithelial cells (Calu-3), shown to assemble and deposit a BM on the growth substrate, followed by decellularisation. Data overall show that the attachment capacity of Caco-2 cells, which is completely lost in serum-free culture, is fully restored when the cells are grown on BM-coated substrates, with cells forming intact monolayers with high electrical resistance and low permeability to macromolecules. Caco-2 cells cultured on BM-coated substrates displayed strikingly different morphological characteristics, suggestive of a higher level of differentiation and closer resemblance to the native intestinal epithelium. BM was found to notably hinder the diffusion of macromolecules and nanoparticles in a size dependent manner. This suggests that the specialised network of extracellular matrix proteins may have a significant impact on transmucosal delivery of certain therapeutics or drug delivery systems.


Stolnik-Trenkic, S., Vllasaliua, D., Falcone, F. H., & Garnett, M. (2014). Basement membrane influences intestinal epithelial cell growth and presents a barrier to the movement of macromolecules. Experimental Cell Research, 323(1), 218-231.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Feb 18, 2014
Online Publication Date Feb 25, 2014
Publication Date Apr 15, 2014
Deposit Date May 24, 2018
Publicly Available Date Nov 8, 2018
Electronic ISSN 1090-2422
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 323
Issue 1
Pages 218-231
Keywords Basement membrane; Cell adhesion; Drug delivery; Epithelial cells; Extracellular matrix; Laminin-5
Public URL
Publisher URL
PMID 24582861


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