Mitochondrial and glycolytic extracellular flux analysis optimization for isolated pig intestinal epithelial cells

A.F. Bekebrede, J. Keijer, W.J.J. Gerrits, V.C.J. De Boer*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Intestinal epithelial cells (IECs) are crucial to maintain intestinal function and the barrier against the outside world. To support their function they rely on energy production, and failure to produce enough energy can lead to IEC malfunction and thus decrease intestinal barrier function. However, IEC metabolic function is not often used as an outcome parameter in intervention studies, perhaps because of the lack of available methods. We therefore developed a method to isolate viable IECs, suitable to faithfully measure their metabolic function by determining extracellular glycolytic and mitochondrial flux. First, various methods were assessed to obtain viable IECs. We then adapted a previously in-house generated image-analysis algorithm to quantify the amount of seeded IECs. Correcting basal respiration data of a group of piglets using this algorithm reduced the variation, showing that this algorithm allows for more accurate analysis of metabolic function. We found that delay in metabolic analysis after IEC isolation decreases their metabolic function and should therefore be prevented. The presence of antibiotics during isolation and metabolic assessment also decreased the metabolic function of IECs. Finally, we found that primary pig IECs did not respond to Oligomycin, a drug that inhibits complex V of the electron transport chain, which may be because of the presence of drug exporters. A method was established to faithfully measure extracellular glycolytic and mitochondrial flux of pig primary IECs. This tool is suitable to gain a better understanding of how interventions affect IEC metabolic function.
Original languageEnglish
Article number19961
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 7 Oct 2021


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