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Advantages, Disadvantages and Limitations

These co-culture systems give the opportunity to study cell–cell communication, and most cell laboratories will have the possibility to establish at least some of these co-cultivation systems. The use of monocyte-derived DCs or PBMCs have the advantage of responding well with the production of cytokines, whilst THP-1 on the other side produce a limited number of cytokines. These protocols are timeconsuming and therefore not suitable for high throughput screening. As for other in vitro culturing systems the data should be interpreted with care as they do not represent the complexity found in the in vivo situation.

Conclusions

The co-cultivation systems described here needs to be carefully validated in order to be able to harvest reliable experimental data related to communication between immune cells and epithelial cells. They can be used for screening purposes, however, due to time consumption they are generally unsuitable for high throughput screening. Co-culture of Caco-2 and Raji cells generates cells with a M-cell like phenotype. Such cells can give useful information regarding transport of test compounds through M-cells, however such studies will eventually have to be confirmed in an in vivo system.

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