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Int J Food Microbiol. 2010 Jul 31;141 Suppl 1:S4-14. doi: 10.1016/j.ijfoodmicro.2010.03.026. Epub 2010 Apr 2.

Functional cell models of the gut and their applications in food microbiology--a review.

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Department of Microbiology, Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, Faculty of Agriculture and Life Science, University of Maribor, Maribor, Slovenia.


Animal experimentation has a long tradition for risk assessment of new drugs before they reach the clinic. To reduce expensive animal experimentation, attempts have been made to build inexpensive and convenient intestinal functional cell models to study toxicity and bioavailability of new substances along with providing relevant models to study interactions between the host, pathogens and intestinal microflora. We review the available cell lines and models of the intestine and their potential uses. Tumor derived cell lines such as Caco-2, T84 and HT-29 are widely used despite many drawbacks, which are discussed with respect to complexity of the gut, where various cell types interact with commensal microbiota and gut-associated lymphoid tissue. To address this complexity, 3D models of human and animal gut represent a promising in vitro system to mimic in vivo situation without the use of transformed cell lines.

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