Transendothelial electrical resistance measurement across the blood–brain barrier: A critical review of methods

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  • Judit P. Vigh
  • András Kincses
  • Ozgür, Burak
  • Fruzsina R. Walter
  • Ana Raquel Santa-Maria
  • Sándor Valkai
  • Mónika Vastag
  • Winfried Neuhaus
  • Larsen, Birger Brodin
  • András Dér
  • Mária A. Deli

The blood–brain barrier (BBB) represents the tightest endothelial barrier within the cardio-vascular system characterized by very low ionic permeability. Our aim was to describe the setups, electrodes, and instruments to measure electrical resistance across brain microvessels and culture models of the BBB, as well as critically assess the influence of often neglected physical and technical parameters such as temperature, viscosity, current density generated by different electrode types, surface size, circumference, and porosity of the culture insert membrane. We demonstrate that these physical and technical parameters greatly influence the measurement of transendothelial electrical resistance/resistivity (TEER) across BBB culture models resulting in severalfold differences in TEER values of the same biological model, especially in the low-TEER range. We show that elevated culture medium viscosity significantly increases, while higher membrane porosity decreases TEER values. TEER data measured by chopstick electrodes can be threefold higher than values measured by chamber electrodes due to different electrode size and geometry, resulting in current distribution inhomogeneity. An additional shunt resistance at the circumference of culture inserts results in lower TEER values. A detailed description of setups and technical parameters is crucial for the correct interpretation and comparison of TEER values of BBB models.

Original languageEnglish
Article number685
Issue number6
Number of pages18
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was funded by the National Research, Development, and Innovation Office of Hungary grant numbers OTKA NNE 129617 (as part of the M-Era.NET2 nanoPD project to M.A.D.) and PD-128480 (to F.R.W.), by the Lundbeck Foundation, grant no. R155-2013-14113 (?Research Initiative on Brain Barriers and Drug Delivery?, to B.B.) and by the European Union?s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI), grant number 807015 (Innovative Medicines Initiative 2 Joint Undertaking, to B.B.).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

    Research areas

  • Blood–brain barrier, Cell culture insert, Electrodes, Endothelial cell, Epithelial cell, Impedance, Lab-on-a-chip, Transendothelial electrical resistance, Viscosity

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