Measurement and Modeling of Epithelial Cell Barrier Function

Impedance Measurements

Measuring barrier function (i.e., the resistance of the paracellular pathway between cells) has proven to be a significant and rapidly growing application in ECIS technology.

The use of ECIS technology to monitor barrier function was first demonstrated in 1992 in an experiment using bovine pulmonary endothelial cells exposed to thrombin. Recent data has suggested that various cellular effects can be monitored at different frequencies used during experimentation. While cell spreading can be analyzed at high frequencies (analyzing capacity data), the formation or disruption of a barrier function is best described at low frequencies (analyzing impedance data).

For more information on this subject, please refer to: „Impedance Analysis of Cell Junctions” (Wegener, J.) In: Nanotechnology Ed. H. Fuchs. VCH Weinheim, 2009

Experimental Example: Effect of Barrier Disruption on Epithelial Cells

The capacitance (C) of the cell layer covering the electrode remains constant after disruption of the cell-cell contacts while impedance (Z) breaks down dramatically.

Staining of ZO-1 protein in epithelial cells showing barrier disruption after addition of Cytochalasin D (CD).

Appropriate electrode arrays could be:

8 well format:

  • 8W1E
  • 8W2LE
  • 8W10E
  • 8W10E+

96 well format:

  • 96W1E
  • 96W10E+

Optical Measurements

Optical measurements of barrier function are possible with all ibidi μ-Slides and μ-Dishes when used in conjunction with fluorescent dyes.