The Phenion full-thickness skin model for percutaneous absorption testing

Skin Pharmacol Physiol. 2010;23(2):105-12. doi: 10.1159/000265681. Epub 2009 Dec 14.


In recent years many efforts have been made to replace dermal toxicity testing of chemicals in the animal by in vitro assays. As a member of a German research consortium, we have previously contributed to the validation of an in vitro test protocol for percutaneous absorption studies on the basis of reconstructed human epidermis and both human and pig skin ex vivo. Aiming to assess the barrier properties of a newly developed reconstructed skin model, this protocol has now been transferred to the Phenion Full-Thickness Skin Model (FT model). The permeation of testosterone and caffeine was quantified in parallel to that of pig skin using Franz-type diffusion cells. In addition, the permeation of benzoic acid and nicotine was studied. As expected, the FT model is more permeable than pig skin, yet its barrier properties are well in accordance with those of reconstructed human epidermis when compared to previous data. In fact, the FT model most efficiently retards testosterone as the compound of highest lipophilicity, which can be explained by an additional uptake by a reservoir formed by the dermis equivalent. Thus, the structure closely parallels human skin. In consequence, the Phenion FT model appears to be suitable for percutaneous absorption studies in hazard analysis and should be subjected to a catch-up validation study.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Animal Testing Alternatives / methods*
  • Animals
  • Benzoic Acid / pharmacokinetics
  • Caffeine / pharmacokinetics
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological*
  • Nicotine / pharmacology
  • Permeability
  • Skin Absorption*
  • Species Specificity
  • Swine
  • Testosterone / pharmacokinetics


  • Caffeine
  • Testosterone
  • Nicotine
  • Benzoic Acid