Methods to examine Tight Junction Physiology in cancer stem cells: TEER, Paracellular Permeability, and Dilution potential measurements Academic Article uri icon


  • Our understanding of the essential role played by cancer stem cells or tumor-initiating cells in epithelial cell-derived tumor types is rapidly advancing. Nevertheless, the identification and characterization of these cells pose a considerable challenge. Among changes in the epithelium in oncogenesis are changes in the permeability barrier, a phenotypic trait based on tight junction formation and function. Tight junctions regulate the movement of solutes, ions and water across the paracellular space. On a cellular level, they maintain cell polarity by limiting the lateral diffusion of membrane components. Depending on the type of epithelial tissue, the barrier characteristics with respect to electrical resistance, size and ion charge selectivity vary quite significantly. Thus, elucidating changes in expression of Claudins, an essential component of tight junctions, has become a very active area of investigation in oncogenesis. This chapter provides detailed protocols on how to quantify three aspects of tight junction physiology using in vitro cell culture systems that are particularly applicable to analysis and comparison of cancer stem cells and their normal counterparts.

publication date

  • 2012