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Br J Nutr. 2002 Mar;87(3):211-7.

Functional characterization of three clones of the human intestinal Caco-2 cell line for dietary lipid processing.

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  • 1Unité 476 INSERM, Nutrition humaine et lipides, Marseille, France.


We aimed to improve the use of the human intestinal Caco-2 cell line for studying dietary lipid and cholesterol processing by using isolated pure clones (Chantret et al. 1994). Three clones (TC7, PD7 and PF11) were grown as monolayers on semi-permeable filters and compared for cell viability, fatty acid and cholesterol apical uptake or basolateral secretion, apolipoprotein B-48 basolateral secretion and 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl (HMG)-CoA reductase activity. The TC7 clone showed the best viability upon apical incubation with mixed micelles and should be preferred for routine work. Short-term (3.0 h) rates of apical uptake of cholesterol were not different with the three clones, whereas the rate of apical uptake of oleic acid (18:1) was lower (P<0.05) with PF11 (250.6 nmol/mg) and the basolateral secretion of cholesterol and oleic acid was lower with the TC7 clone (0.40 and 29.1 nmol/mg respectively). The secretion of apolipoprotein B-48 basolaterally was about 2-fold lower than from PD7 clone. The basal levels of HMG-CoA reductase activity were significantly different (P<0.05; TC7>PF11 >PD7). The down-regulation of the enzyme activity was moderate (range 13.8-21.0%) and comparable in the presence of apical micellar cholesterol, but was much marked upon basolateral incubation with LDL (range 34.0-53.6%), especially for the PD7 clone. In conclusion, the Caco-2 clones characterized here proved to be particularly suitable for studying lipid nutrients processing. Because these three clones exhibit some different metabolic capabilities, they provide a new tool to study intestinal response to lipid nutrients.

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