Simulated digestion models and caco-2 cells

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Abstract Examples


Ornelas-Paz JD, Failla ML, Yahia EM, Gardea-Bejar A. Impact of the stage of ripening and dietary fat on in vitro bioaccessibility of beta-carotene in ‘Ataulfo’ mango. J Agric Food Chem 2008 Feb;56(4):1511-6.

Pulp from “slightly ripe”, “moderately ripe”, or “fully ripe” mangoes was digested in vitro in the absence and presence of processed chicken as a source of exogenous fat and protein to examine the impact of stage of ripening of mango on micellarization during digestion and intestinal cell uptake (i.e., bioaccessibility) of beta-carotene. The quantity of beta-carotene transferred to the micelle fraction during simulated digestion significantly increased as the fruit ripened and when chicken was mixed with mango before digestion. Qualitative and quantitative changes that occur in pectin from mango pulp during the ripening process influenced the efficiency of micellarization of beta-carotene. Finally, the uptake of beta-carotene in micelles generated during simulated digestion by Caco-2 human intestinal cells confirmed the bioaccessibility of the provitamin A carotenoid in mango.


Bhagavan HN, Chopra RK, Craft NE, Chitchumroonchokchai C, Failla ML. Assessment of coenzyme Q10 absorption using an in vitro digestion-Caco-2 cell model. Int J Pharm 2007.

The feasibility of using a coupled in vitro digestion-Caco-2 cell uptake as a model for examining the digestive stability and absorption of coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) from a variety of commercially available CoQ10 products was examined. The products were first subjected to simulated digestion to mimic their passage through the GI tract to generate micelles containing CoQ10, and the micelle fractions added to monolayers of Caco-2 cells to determine CoQ10 uptake. The data demonstrate enhanced uptake of CoQ10 from formulations containing solubilized forms of CoQ10 and also from a CoQ10-gamma-cyclodextrin complex as compared with pure CoQ10 powder or tablets based on CoQ10 powder. The CoQ10 uptake by the cells was correlated with the extent of micellarization of CoQ10 during simulated digestion. Most of CoQ10 taken up by the cells was converted to ubiquinol either during or following uptake. The data also indicate a correlation between in vitro dissolution of CoQ10 products and uptake of CoQ10 by Caco-2 cells. Thus, this study demonstrates the utility of coupled in vitro digestion-Caco-2 cell model as a cost-effective screening tool that will provide useful information for the optimal design of human trials to assess the bioavailability of CoQ10 and also other bioactive compounds.


Bohn T, Tian Q, Chitchumroonchokchai C, Failla ML, Schwartz SJ, Cotter R, Waksman JA. Supplementation of test meals with fat-free phytosterol products can reduce cholesterol micellarization during simulated digestion and cholesterol accumulation by Caco-2 cells. J Agric Food Chem 2007.

Phytosterols have been shown to reduce cholesterol absorption in humans. Supplementing phytosterols in fat-free formulations, however, has yielded controversial results. In the present study, we investigated the effect of supplementing test meals with different fat-free phytosterol products on cholesterol incorporation into mixed micelles during simulated digestion and accumulation of micellar cholesterol by Caco-2 cells: control orange juice (OJ), orange juice supplemented with either multivitamin/multimineral tablets (MVT), multivitamin/multimineral tablets containing phytosterols (MVT+P), and phytosterol powder (PP). These combinations were added to Ensure-based test meals and spiked with cholesterol of natural isotopic composition or 13C2-cholesterol to differentiate external from endogenous cholesterol. After simulated gastric/small intestinal digestion, micelle fractions were analyzed for cholesterol enzymatically (n = 6-20/product) and by high-performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (n = 12/product) and added to Caco-2 cells to determine the accumulation of 13C2-cholesterol (n = 10-24/product). As compared to OJ, PP and MVT+P significantly decreased cholesterol micellarization (determined enzymatically) by 70 +/- 39 (mean +/- SD) and 70 +/- 39%, respectively (P < 0.001, Bonferroni). The stable isotope experiments revealed that both PP and MVT+P reduced cholesterol micellarization [by 25 +/- 12 (P = 0.055) and 21 +/- 8% (P = 0.020), respectively, Fisher’s protected LSD test] and Caco-2 cell accumulation (by 28 +/- 8 and 10 +/- 8%, respectively; P < 0.010, Bonferroni). OJ+P did not inhibit micellarization or accumulation of cholesterol by Caco-2 cells. This study shows that fat-free phytosterol-containing products can significantly inhibit cholesterol micellarization and Caco-2 cell bioaccessibility, albeit to different extents depending on individual formulations. This is most likely explained by inhibition of cholesterol micellarization.


Chitchumroonchokchai C, Failla ML. Hydrolysis of zeaxanthin esters by carboxyl ester lipase during digestion facilitates micellarization and uptake of the xanthophyll by Caco-2 human intestinal cells. J Nutr 2006.

Zeaxanthin (Zea) and lutein are the only dietary carotenoids that accumulate in the macular region of the retina and lens. It was proposed that these carotenoids protect these tissues against photooxidative damage. Few plant foods are enriched in Zea, and information about the bioavailability of Zea from these foods and its accumulation in ocular tissues is limited. The amounts of free Zea and its mono- and diesters were measured for several plant foods that have relatively high concentrations of this xanthophyll. Wolfberry had the greatest concentration of Zea with a diester that accounts for 95% of the total. Free, mono-, and diesters of Zea were present in orange and red peppers, whereas only Zea monoesters were detected in squash. Zea esters were partially hydrolyzed by carboxyl ester lipase (CEL) during simulated digestion. The efficiency of micellarization was dependent on speciation with combined means of free Zea, Zea monoesters, Zea diesters from the digested foods of 81 +/- 8, 44 +/- 5, and 11 +/- 4%, respectively. When exposed to micelles generated during digestion of the test foods, Zea uptake by Caco-2 cells was proportional to the medium content (11-14%). Free Zea was the most abundant form in Caco-2 cells, although Zea monoesters also were detected (<8 +/- 0.7% vs. free Zea). CEL enhanced Zea uptake from micelles (12.3-fold; P < 0.05) by hydrolyzing Zea esters. After cell uptake, concentrations of free and monoesterified Zea remained relatively stable. These data suggest that dietary Zea esters are hydrolyzed by CEL during the small intestinal phase of digestion and that this conversion enhances Zea bioavailability.