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Evaluation of a Human Bio-Engineered Skin Equivalent for Drug Permeation Studies

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Purpose. To test the barrier function of a bio-engineered human skin (BHS) using three model drugs (caffeine, hydrocortisone, and tamoxifen) in vitro. To investigate the lipid composition and microscopic structure of the BHS.

Methods. The human skin substitute was composed of both epidermal and dermal layers, the latter having a bovine collagen matrix. The permeability of the BHS to three model drugs was compared to that obtained in other percutaneous testing models (human cadaver skin, hairless mouse skin, and EpiDerm™). Lipid analysis of the BHS was performed by high performance thin layered chromatrography. Histological evalulation of the BHS was performed using routine H&E staining.

Results. The BHS mimicked human skin in terms of lipid composition, gross ultrastructure, and the formation of a stratum corneum. However, the permeability of the BHS to caffeine, hydrocortisone, and tamoxifen was 3-4 fold higher than that of human cadaver skin.

Conclusions. In summary, the results indicate that the BHS may be an acceptable in vitro model for drug permeability testing.

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Asbill, C., Kim, N., El-Kattan, A. et al. Evaluation of a Human Bio-Engineered Skin Equivalent for Drug Permeation Studies. Pharm Res 17, 1092–1097 (2000).

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