Effects of growth conditions on the barrier properties of a human skin equivalent

Priya Batheja, Yifan Song, Philip Wertz, Bozena Michniak-Kohn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

29 Scopus citations


Purpose: Development of transdermal and topical formulations requires extensive skin permeation testing and the availability of reproducible test models. We have worked on development of a Human Skin Equivalent (HSE) by culture with a combination of additives, including the PPAR-α agonist clofibrate, in order to simulate the cutaneous barrier of human skin. Methods: HSEs were constructed by culturing human keratinocytes on dermal matrices consisting of human fibroblasts and collagen and cultured in specific growth conditions (combination of clofibrate, ascorbic acid and fatty acids). The resulting HSEs were characterized for their morphology, lipid composition and permeability profile and compared to human skin and EpidermFT®. Results: The unique media growth additives combination normalized the lipid profile and significantly increased the permeability barrier of the HSEs to caffeine and hydrocortisone (p∈<∈0.05). The HSEs overestimated the permeation of most compounds by 2-7 fold as compared to human skin. The permeability profiles obtained though were very similar and not significantly different (p∈<∈0.05) from those of EpidermFT®. Conclusions: Culture with the growth media additives combination produced a pronounced effect on the permeability barrier of the HSEs. Further validation of permeability with additional agents could comprise the first step toward their use in skin permeability screening.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1689-1700
Number of pages12
JournalPharmaceutical research
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2009


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biotechnology
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Pharmacology (medical)


  • Clofibrate
  • Permeability
  • Reconstructed skin
  • Skin equivalents
  • Transdermal

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