Lourenço BN, Dos Santos T, Oliveira C, Barrias CC, Granja PL. Acta Biomater 2018;82:68-78.
The field of stomach-directed therapeutics and diagnosis is still hampered by the lack of reliable in vitro models that closely mimic the gastric mucosa where gastric cancer cells are generally confined. Here we propose a rapid, complex, and innovative 3D in vitro model of the gastric mucosa, by extending a conventional gastric monolayer model to an inner stratum of the mucosa – the lamina propria. The developed model comprises normal stomach fibroblasts embedded in a 3D RGD-modified alginate hydrogel prepared on the basolateral side of a Transwell® insert, mimicking the extracellular matrix and cellular component of the lamina propria, onto which a moderately differentiated adenocarcinoma stomach cell line (MKN74) was seeded, reproducing the physiological conditions of the gastric barrier. The integrity and functionality of the in vitro model was evaluated through permeability studies of FITC-dextran and 200 nm fluorescent polystyrene nanoparticles at gastric conditions. Nanoparticle transport was pH-dependent and strongly impacted by the biomimeticlamina propria, highlighting that a gastric extracellular matrix (ECM)-like microenvironment should be integrated in an in vitro permeability model to be adopted as a reliable evaluation tool of innovative therapeutics and diagnosis of gastric diseases.