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Nat Commun. 2016 May 11;7:11535. doi: 10.1038/ncomms11535.

A microfluidics-based in vitro model of the gastrointestinal human-microbe interface.

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Luxembourg Centre for Systems Biomedicine, University of Luxembourg, 6 avenue du Swing, Belvaux L-4367, Luxembourg.
Center for Applied Nanobioscience and Medicine, University of Arizona, 145S 79th Street, Suite 16, Chandler, Arizona 85226, USA.
Department of Infection and Immunity, Luxembourg Institute of Health, 29 rue Henri Koch, Esch-sur-Alzette L-4354, Luxembourg.
Department of Basic Medical Sciences, University of Arizona, 425N. 5th Street, Phoenix, Arizona 85004, USA.


Changes in the human gastrointestinal microbiome are associated with several diseases. To infer causality, experiments in representative models are essential, but widely used animal models exhibit limitations. Here we present a modular, microfluidics-based model (HuMiX, human-microbial crosstalk), which allows co-culture of human and microbial cells under conditions representative of the gastrointestinal human-microbe interface. We demonstrate the ability of HuMiX to recapitulate in vivo transcriptional, metabolic and immunological responses in human intestinal epithelial cells following their co-culture with the commensal Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG (LGG) grown under anaerobic conditions. In addition, we show that the co-culture of human epithelial cells with the obligate anaerobe Bacteroides caccae and LGG results in a transcriptional response, which is distinct from that of a co-culture solely comprising LGG. HuMiX facilitates investigations of host-microbe molecular interactions and provides insights into a range of fundamental research questions linking the gastrointestinal microbiome to human health and disease.

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