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Int J Pharm. 2000 Nov 4;208(1-2):1-11.

Characterization of the Calu-3 cell line as a tool to screen pulmonary drug delivery.

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Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS 66047, USA.


The objective of this research was to examine the human sub-bronchial gland cell line, Calu-3, and assess its potential as a metabolic and transport model to study drug delivery to the respiratory epithelium. The present studies were conducted using Calu-3 cells grown in Transwells(R) or in multiwell cluster plates. TEER values for Calu-3 monolayers were determined using the World Precision Instrument Voltohmmeter and STX-2 electrode. The results confirmed that Calu-3 cells form tight monolayers and give appreciable TEER values in culture when grown under air-interface conditions. Permeability data for small lipophilic molecules across Calu-3 monolayers suggested that the cell line is a suitable model to examine the transport of low molecular weight substances and xenobiotics. Calu-3 cells were also found to efflux FITC-transferrin (MW 80000) in a polarized manner. The metabolic capacity of Calu-3 cells was also examined. The P4501A1 and P4502B isozymes were determined to be functional, but not inducible, with fluorescent resorufin assays. The data indicated that the Calu-3 cell line may be useful for studying the contributions of bronchial epithelial cells to mechanisms of drug delivery at the respiratory epithelium.

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