Evaluating human intestinal cell lines for studying dietary protein absorption

Paulus G M Jochems, Johan Garssen, Antonius M van Keulen, Rosalinde Masereeuw, Prescilla V Jeurink

Published: 07/03/2018


With the global population rising, the need for sustainable and resource-efficiently produced proteins with nutritional and health promoting qualities has become urgent. Proteins are important macronutrients and are involved in most, if not all, biological processes in the human body. This review discusses these absorption mechanisms in the small intestine. To study intestinal transport and predict bioavailability, cell lines are widely applied as screening models and often concern Caco-2, HT-29, HT-29/MTX and T84 cells. Here, we provide an overview of the presence and activities of peptide- and amino acid transporters in these cell models. Further, inter-laboratory differences are discussed as well as the culture micro-environment, both of which may influence cell culture phenotype and performance. Finally, the value of new developments in the field, including culturing cells in 3-dimensional systems under shear stress (i.e., gut-on-chips), is highlighted. In particular, their suitability in screening novel food proteins and prediction of the nutritional quality needed for inclusion in the human diet of the future is addressed.

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