Characterization of a new tissue-engineered human skin equivalent with hair

In Vitro Cell Dev Biol Anim. 1999 Jun;35(6):318-26. doi: 10.1007/s11626-999-0081-x.


We designed a new tissue-engineered skin equivalent in which complete pilosebaceous units were integrated. This model was produced exclusively from human fibroblasts and keratinocytes and did not contain any synthetic material. Fibroblasts were cultured for 35 d with ascorbic acid and formed a thick fibrous sheet in the culture dish. The dermal equivalent was composed of stacked fibroblast sheets and exhibited some ultrastructural organization found in normal connective tissues. Keratinocytes seeded on this tissue formed a stratified and cornified epidermis and expressed typical markers of differentiation (keratin 10, filaggrin, and transglutaminase). After 4 wk of culture, a continuous and ultrastructurally organized basement membrane was observed and associated with the expression of laminin and collagen IV and VII. Complete pilosebaceous units were obtained by thermolysin digestion and inserted in this skin equivalent in order to assess the role of the transfollicular route in percutaneous absorption. The presence of hair follicles abolished the lag-time observed during hydrocortisone diffusion and increased significantly its rate of penetration in comparison to the control (skin equivalent with sham hair insertion). Therefore, this new hairy human skin equivalent model allowed an experimental design in which the only variable was the presence of pilosebaceous units and provided new data confirming the importance of hair follicles in percutaneous absorption.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biocompatible Materials
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Fibroblasts / cytology*
  • Filaggrin Proteins
  • Hair Follicle
  • Hair* / ultrastructure
  • Humans
  • Keratinocytes / cytology*
  • Skin Absorption
  • Skin* / cytology


  • Biocompatible Materials
  • FLG protein, human
  • Filaggrin Proteins