The Ussing system for cell biology research was designed for studying the transport of ions, nutrients and drugs across a whole barrier tissue, like epithelial tissues. Ussing systems are generally comprised of a chamber and perfusion system, and, if needed, an amplifier and data acquisition system. The heart of the system lies in the chamber with the other components performing supporting roles. The ‘Classic’ chamber design, first introduced by the Danish physiologist Hans Ussing in the early 1950’s, is still in wide use today. However, several newer designs are now available that optimize for convenience and for diffusion- or electrophysiology-based measurements.
Epithelia are polar structures possessing an apical (or mucosal) and basolateral (or serosal) side. It is the movement of electrolytes, non-electrolytes, and H2O across this membrane that is of interest to the researcher. Ussing systems have been used to make measurements from native tissue including stomach, large and small intestine, gall and urinary bladder, skin, and trachea, as well as from tissue derived cell monolayers from various sources including renal tubes, pancreas, and salivary and sweat glands.
A well designed Ussing chamber supports an epithelia membrane or cell monolayer in such a way that each side of the membrane is isolated and faces a separate chamber-half. This configuration allows the researcher to make unique chemical and electrical adjustments to either side of the membrane with complete control.
Rotalab provides a wide range of Ussing systems with well established perfusion chambers that are easy to operate, easy to control temperature, and easy to clean after use.