The majority of epithelia in our organism perform barrier functions on being exposed to different fluids at the luminal and basal sides. To simulate this natural situation under in vitro conditions for biomaterial testing and tissue engineering the epithelia have to withstand mechanical and fluid stress over a prolonged period of time. Leakage, edge damage and pressure differences in the culture system have to be avoided so that the epithelial barrier function is maintained. Besides, the environmental influences on important cell biological features such as, sealing or transport functions, have to remain upregulated and a loss of characteristics by dedifferentiation is prevented. Our aim is to expose embryonic renal collecting duct (CD) epithelia as model tissue for 14 days to fluid gradients and to monitor the development of tissue-specific features. For these experiments, cultured embryonic epithelia are placed in tissue carriers and in gradient containers, where different media are superfused at the luminal and basal sides. Epithelia growing on the tissue carriers act as a physiological barrier during the whole culture period. To avoid mechanical damage of the tissue and to suppress fluid pressure differences between the luminal and basal compartments improved transport of the medium and an elimination of unilaterally accumulated gas bubbles in the gradient container compartments by newly developed gas expander modules is introduced. By the application of these tools the yield of embryonic renal collecting duct epithelia with intact barrier function on a fragile natural support material could be increased significantly as compared to earlier experiments. Epithelia treated with a luminal NaCl load ranging from 3 to 24 mmol l were analyzed by immunohistochemical methods to determine the degree of differentiation. The tissue showed an upregulation of individual CD cell features as compared to embryonic epithelia in the neonatal kidney.