The Role of Basement Membrane in Intestinal Barrier to Absorption of Macromolecules and Nanoparticles

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Full understanding of the barrier property of mucosal tissues is imperative for development of successful mucosal drug delivery strategies, particularly for biologics and nanomedicines. The contribution of the mucosal basement membrane (BM) to this barrier is currently not fully appreciated. This work examined the role of the BM as a barrier to intestinal absorption of model macromolecules (5 kDa and 10 kDa dextrans) and 100 nm polystyrene nanoparticles. Dextrans and nanoparticles were applied either directly to BM-coated inserts or to an intestinal model, namely differentiated intestinal epithelial monolayers (Caco-2) cultured on BM-modified inserts. The work shows that the BM per se does not impact the diffusion of dextran macromolecules, but severely hinders the movement of nanoparticles. However, importantly, Caco-2 monolayers cultured on BM-coated inserts, which show a remarkably different morphology, display a significantly larger barrier to the translocation of one dextran, as well as nanoparticle systems compared to cells cultured on unmodified inserts. Therefore, this work shows that in addition to presenting a direct physical barrier to the movement of nanoparticles, the BM also exerts an indirect barrier effect, likely due to its influence on epithelial cell physiology. This work is important as it highlights the currently unmet need to consider and further study the barrier properties of the BM in mucosal delivery of biologics and nanomedicines.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5802-5808
JournalMolecular Pharmaceutics
Issue number12
Early online date31 Oct 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 31 Oct 2018


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