Trans-epithelial electrical resistance (TEER) is a good indicator of the barrier integrity of epithelial tissues and is often employed in biomedical research as an effective tool to assess ion transport and permeability of tight junctions. The Ussing chamber is the gold standard for measuring TEER of tissue specimens, but it has major drawbacks: it is a macroscopic method that requires a careful and labor intensive sample mounting protocol, allows a very limited viability for the mounted sample, has large parasitic components and low throughput as it cannot perform multiple simultaneous measurements, and this sophisticated and delicate apparatus has a relatively high cost. This paper demonstrates a low-cost home-made “sandwich ring” method which was used to measure the TEER of tissue specimens effectively. This method inspired the subsequent design of a biochip fabricated using standard soft lithography and laser engraving technologies, with which the TEER of pig epithelial tissues was measured. Moreover, it was possible to temporarily preserve the tissue specimens for days in the biochip and monitor the TEER continuously. Tissue responses after exposure tests to media of various pH values were also successfully recorded using the biochip. All these demonstrate that this biochip could be an effective, cheaper, and easier to use Ussing chamber substitute that may have relevant applications in clinical practice.
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