The effect of neuronal cells on the functional properties of intestinal epithelial cells was examined by using an in vitro coculture system. Two cell lines, Caco-2 and PC12, were respectively used as intestinal epithelial and enteric neuronal cell models. Coculture of differentiated Caco-2 cells with PC12 caused a significant decrease in the transepithelial electrical resistance (TER) value of the Caco-2 monolayer. The permeability to lucifer yellow (LY) was also significantly increased, suggesting that the tight junction (TJ) of the Caco-2 monolayers was modulated by coculturing with PC12. To identify the TJ-modulating factor presumably secreted from PC12, the effects of the major neurotransmitters on the TER value and LY transport were examined, but no influence was apparent. The TJ-modulating effect of PC12 was prevented by exposing PC12 to cycloheximide, suggesting that new protein synthesis in PC12 was necessary for this regulation.
2003 by Japan Society for Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Agrochemistry