Characterization of increased mucus production of HT29-MTX-E12 cells grown under Semi-Wet interface with Mechanical Stimulation

Janneke Elzinga*, Benthe van der Lugt, Clara Belzer, Wilma T. Steegenga

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


The intestinal mucus layer plays a crucial role in human health. To study intestinal mucus function and structure in vitro, the mucus-producing intestinal cell line HT29-MTX-E12 has been commonly used. However, this cell line produces only low amounts of the intestinespecific MUC2. It has been shown previously that HT29-MTX-E12 cells cultured under Semi-Wet interface with Mechanical Stimulation (SWMS) produced higher amounts of MUC2, concomitant with a thicker mucus layer, compared to cells cultured conventionally. However, it remains unknown which underlying pathways are involved. Therefore, we aimed to further explore the cellular processes underlying the increased MUC2 production by HT29-MTX-E12 cells grown under SWMS conditions. Cells grown on Transwell membranes for 14 days under static and SWMS conditions (after cell seeding and attachment) were subjected to transcriptome analysis to investigate underlying molecular pathways at gene expression level. Caco-2 and LS174T cell lines were included as references. We characterized how SWMS conditions affected HT29-MTX-E12 cells in terms of epithelial barrier integrity, by measuring transepithelial electrical resistance, and cell metabolism, by monitoring pH and lactate production per molecule glucose of the conditioned medium. We confirmed higher MUC2 production under SWMS conditions at gene and protein level and demonstrated that this culturing method primarily stimulated cell growth. In addition, we also found evidence for a more aerobic cell metabolism under SWMS, as shown previously for similar models. In summary, we suggest different mechanisms by which MUC2 production is enhanced under SWMS and propose potential applications of this model in future studies.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0261191
JournalPLoS ONE
Publication statusPublished - 20 Dec 2021


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