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European Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences
The ROC skin model: A robust skin equivalent for permeation and live cell imaging studies
Nicoline Dorothea Jakobsen, Katharina Kaiser, Morten Frendø Ebbesen, Line Lauritsen, Morten Frier Gjerstorff, Judith Kuntsche, Jonathan R. Brewer
Artificial skin models; Tissue engineering; Transdermal drug delivery; Live tissue imaging
Rat epidermal keratinocyte (REK) Organotypic culture (ROC) is an epidermis model that is robust and inexpensive to develop and maintain, and it has in previous studies been shown to have permeability characteristics close to those of human skin. Here, we characterize the model further by structural comparison to native human and rat skin and by investigating functional characteristics of lipid packing, polarity, and permeability coefficients. We show that the ROC model has structural similarities to native human skin and observe human skin-like permeability coefficients for testosterone and mannitol. We develop a transwell device that allows live cell microscopy of the tissue at the air-liquid interface and establish transgenic cell lines expressing different fluorescently tagged proteins. This enables showing the migration of keratinocytes during the first days after seeding, finding that keratinocytes have a higher mean migration rate in the earlier days of development. Collectively, our results show that the ROC model is an inexpensive and robust epidermis model that works reproducibly across laboratories.