Evaluation of a human bio-engineered skin equivalent for drug permeation studies

C. Asbill, N. Kim, A. El-Kattan, K. Creek, P. Wertz, B. Michniak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Scopus citations


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(TM)). Lipid analysis of the BHS was performed by high performance thin layered chromatrography. Histological evalulation of the BHS was performed using routine H and 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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1092-1097
Number of pages6
JournalPharmaceutical research
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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


  • Drug delivery systems
  • Permeability
  • Skin alternatives
  • Transdermal drug delivery


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