Microparticle uptake in the small intestine is relevant to both the delivery of pharmaceutics and exposure to environmental pollutants. The Caco-2 enterocyte model is a useful tool to study the parameters that affect epithelial microparticle permeability and the mechanisms controlling them. The current study used this model to explore further the different effects of 10% ethanol v/v or ice on transepithelial resistance (TER), microparticle uptake and immunofluorescent labelling of intercellular junctions. The same exposure times for both treatments were used, rather than those shown in the literature to produce demonstrable changes induced by each. The effects of both pre-treatments were greater after 60min than after 15min. Ethanol pre-treatment for 60min decreased TER, increased particle uptake and was associated with a disorganisation of tight and adhering junctional proteins. Pre-treatment with ice for 60min however, increased TER, decreased particle uptake and was associated with concentration of intercellular junctional proteins in a more constrained manner. These findings on the effects of pre-treatment with ethanol or ice for 60min suggest that the extent of uptake is influenced by changes in the distribution of intercellular junctional proteins.
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