The use of a porcine organotypic cornea construct for permeation studies from formulations containing befunolol hydrochloride

Int J Pharm. 2003 Jan 2;250(1):191-201. doi: 10.1016/s0378-5173(02)00541-0.


The purpose of this study was to develop an organotypic cornea equivalent consisting of three different cell types (epithelial, stromal and endothelial cells) and to investigate its usefulness as in vitro model for permeation studies. The different cell types of a porcine cornea were selectively isolated and a multilayer tissue construct was created step-by-step in Transwell cell culture insert. Histology, basement membrane components (laminin, fibronectin) and surfaces of cornea construct were investigated to evaluate the degree of comparability to porcine cornea from slaughtered animals. The cornea construct exhibited similarities to the original cornea. Ocular permeation of befunolol hydrochloride from different formulations across the cornea construct was tested using modified Franz cells and compared with data obtained from excised cornea. The cornea construct showed a similar permeation behavior for befunolol hydrochloride from different formulations compared with excised porcine cornea. However, permeation coefficients K(p) obtained with the construct were about three to fourfold higher for aqueous formulations and same for the w/o-emulsion. The reconstructed cornea could be an alternative to excised animal tissue for drug permeation studies in vitro.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chemistry, Pharmaceutical
  • Cornea / cytology
  • Cornea / metabolism*
  • Cornea / ultrastructure
  • Microscopy, Electron, Scanning
  • Organ Culture Techniques
  • Permeability
  • Propanolamines / pharmacokinetics*
  • Rabbits
  • Swine


  • Propanolamines
  • befunolol