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J Biochem Biophys Methods. 2007 Apr 10;70(3):329-33. Epub 2006 Jul 20.

A novel fluorescence-based cellular permeability assay.

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  • 1Section of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery, Department of Surgery, Univeristy of California, San Diego Medical Center, 200 West Arbor Drive, San Diego, CA 92103-8402, USA.


Vascular permeability is a pathologic process in many disease states ranging from metastatic progression of malignancies to ischemia-reperfusion injury. In order to more precisely study tissue, and more specifically cell layer permeability, our goal was to create a fluorescence-based assay which could quantify permeability without radioactivity or electrical impedance measurements. Human aortic endothelial cells were grown in monolayer culture on Costar-Transwell clear polyester membrane 6-well cell culture inserts. After monolayer integrity was confirmed, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF(165)) at varying concentrations with a fixed concentration of yellow-green fluorescent 0.04 microm carboxylate-modified FluoSpheres microspheres were placed in the luminal chamber and incubated for 24 h. When stimulated with VEGF(165) at 20, 40, 80, and 100 ng/ml, this assay system was able to detect increases in trans-layer flux of 8.2+/-2.4%, 16.0+/-3.7%, 41.5+/-4.9%, and 58.6+/-10.1% for each concentration, respectively. This represents the first fluorescence-based permeability assay with the sensitivity to detect changes in the permeability of a cell layer to fluid flux independent of protein flux; as well as being simpler and safer than previous radioactive-and impedance-based permeability assays. With the application of this in vitro assay to a variety of pathologic conditions, both the dynamics and physiology relating to cellular permeability can be more fully investigated.

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