Friday, March 1, 2024

Scientists develop new tool to make ‘gut check’ more practical

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A team of researchers from Rice University in collaboration with Baylor College of Medicine developed a new device that mimics intestines, giving them a mechanical model to track the real-time growth of bacterial infections.
The new study demonstrates a lab tool that simplifies simulations of the human intestine, making it more practical to find treatments for diseases like infectious diarrhea.
The team led by bioengineer Jane Grande-Allen of Rice’s Brown School of Engineering developed transparent millifluidic perfusion cassettes (mPCs) that are easy to fabricate and operate and compatible with common microscopic and biochemical analysis.
The cassettes allow even non-bioengineers to perform the kind of studies typically done with a 96-well petri dish, with the added benefit of fluid flow overseeded epithelial cells infected with bacteria. The cassettes also have micro-scale ports for input and output, allowing not only for fluid flow but also for a sampling of the environment.
Replicating the complicated human gut is a challenge for researchers, said co-author Anthony Maresso, an associate professor of molecular virology and microbiology at Baylor. “This one was designed to be easy to use by scientists with less engineering know-how. The hope is it will lower barriers between engineers and medical researchers,” he said.
Molds of the devices, about the size of standard 96-well plates, were created with a 3D printer and used to form the clear polymer cassettes.
The mPCs were seeded with human intestinal enteroids (HIEs), cultures that contain the major cell types native to the intestinal epithelium.
When fluid containing bacteria flowed through, it formed a biofilm on the cells, a phenomenon not seen in static platforms.
Grande-Allen said making a microfluidic system that doesn’t leak can be technically challenging. (ANI)

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