Millicell® Membrane-Based Cell Assays

Millicell Plates

Rely on Millicell® membrane-based cultureware to promote the natural growth of adherent and suspension cell lines. Optimized membranes provide cells with structure and function which closely mimic their in vivo counterparts, leading to more biologically-relevant results for applications including primary and secondary screening, toxicity screening, transport assays, cell signaling, cell proliferation and ADME drug safety studies. Millicell® plates are trusted for studying the role of cytokines and other growth factors, signal transduction factors like kinases and phosphatases, and for assessing the activity of other bioactive compounds.

The Millicell® Cell Culture product family includes 24-well and 96-well insert plates, as well as hanging and standing single-well inserts. Plates are available with a selection of membranes to support a range of applications.

  • Membranes optimized for reliable monolayer formation
  • Transparent membranes for easy cell growth monitoring
  • A broad selection of plate materials and configurations


Hanging Cell Culture Inserts

Millicell® Hanging Cell Culture Inserts are sterile, general purpose devices for the growth and differentiation of a range of cell phenotypes. Thoughtfully-designed flanges suspend the insert in an off-center position within the culture plate well, facilitating pipetting by creating a larger space to one side. Millicell® hanging inserts make it possible to study both apical and basolateral faces of the cell monolayer and are ideal tools for co-culturing and permeability assays. Our inserts are available preloaded in plates for convenience and ease-of-use.


Millicell® Hanging Cell Culture Inserts and Plates

  • Optimized for co-culturing and permeability assays
  • Unique design allows easier basolateral access than other hanging inserts, with less risk of contamination
  • Available in five pore sizes and three diameters (for 24-, 12-, or 6-well plates), including a 1 µm pore size that is optically transparent for better visualization by microscopy.
  • Easily prepared for SEM and TEM visualizing techniques
  • Are compatible with stains for fluorescent imaging

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Standing Cell Culture Inserts

Our standing inserts promote robust, sustained cell growth. Attachment or suspension cell phenotypes can access media from both apical and basolateral sides. Cell growth, structure, and function more closely mimic what occurs in vivo. Unlike other designs, Millicell® inserts make it possible to study both surfaces of the cell monolayer.


Millicell® Standing Cell Culture System benefits

  • The Biopore™ (PTFE) membrane supports high viability for the superior study of three-dimensional explant structure
  • Membrane selection for diverse applications also includes MF-Millipore (mixed cellulose esters) and polycarbonate membranes

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Millicell® 24- and 96-Well Cell Culture Plates

Millicell® cell culture insert plates are designed to support cell growth and differentiation of epithelial and endothelial cell lines, including CaCo-2.

The Millicell® device is available with a 0.4 µm PCF along with a variety of PET membrane pore sizes. The plate is designed for maximum user convenience, incorporating features such as an apical assist for easier pipetting as well as basolateral access. To reduce the risk of monolayer contamination, Millicell® membrane plates have feet to elevate the plate above the work surface when disassembled from the feeder tray. Additionally, teardrop-shaped receiver wells inhibit the formation of air bubbles as plates are assembled.

Patented apical and basolateral access ports provide contamination-free access to cell monolayers, while also simplifying cell feeding, media changes, and sample analysis. Basolateral access ports are especially effective during transport rate analysis, with no need to disassemble the assay system to sample basolaterally. Each well and basolateral access hole are aligned to facilitate the use of automated probes.


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 Video: Illustrating the Difference Between Plastic and 0.4 micron PC Membrane


These automation-compatible plates incorporate a patented design to ensure assay integrity and to prevent monolayer disruption, contamination or damage during analysis. The 96-well growth assemblies include a choice of a 96-well or single-well feeder trays. This format is available in a 24-well design as well.


Millicell® plates are optimized to grow and sustain high integrity cell monolayers. Cells grown on Millicell® plate membranes cultivate better than cells on plastic because the cells are nourished from both the apical and basolateral sides. With this arrangement, cell growth and function more closely mimic in vivo systems. Millicell® plates are designed for analysis as well as cell growth. They can be used manually or with automated cell seeding, feeding and washing systems.

You can grow, feed, and analyze cells in one membrane-bottom plate. The plates can be used as either a single-well or a multi-well feeding tray. At the time of transport analysis, the plate is simply transferred to a multi-well transport tray.

This streamlined design enhances functionality with:

  • Seed-and-feed systems
  • Automated liquid handling systems and span pipettes
  • Basolateral and apical access to cells
  • Transepithelial electrical resistance (TEER) measurement systems
  • Design improves cell culture assays and analysis
Feature Benefit
2x membrane surface area of other 24-well membrane-based plates Increases assay sensitivity and cell growth
Millicell®-24 plates have a recommended 1:2 ratio between volumes of liquid in the apical: basolateral chambers, as compared to other plates which have up to 1:6 ratio. Smaller differential in results in less dilution of transported material, higher signal, and greater sensitivity
Raised well edges Improve tape sealing
Wells numbered with large numbers and letters Easy to read and identify
High pore density 0.4µm PCF membrane Grows well differentiated Caco-2 cells with no grow through
1.0µm transparent PET membrane Allows for visualization of live cells using microscopy
Apical and basolateral access holes Ease of sample access when performing sequence time transport analysis
Apical assist channel Prevent monolayer disruption and membrane damage while performing manual assays
HTS format  
Filter plate has feet Do not compromise sterility if set on bench

Comparison of sertoli cells grown on plastic and on a MilliporeSigma membrane impregnated with reconstituted basement membrane (RBM) demonstrates that cells grown on MilliporeSigma membrane (bottom) form tall columnar monolayers with ovoid or pyramidal nuclei.


A comparison of MDCK cells grown on impermeable tissue culture plastic and on a MilliporeSigma membrane (Millicell®-HA insert). The graph identifies the regions of cell attachment, growth, and confluence that occur. An initial cell seeding density of 1.7x105 cells/cm2 was used for both substrates. The increase of cell count on the Millicell®-HA insert is indicative of tall columnar growth of cells.