A Method for Determination and Simulation of Permeability and Diffusion in a 3D Tissue Model in a Membrane Insert System for Multi-well Plates

J Vis Exp. 2018 Feb 23;(132):56412. doi: 10.3791/56412.


In vitro cultivated skin models have become increasingly relevant for pharmaceutical and cosmetic applications, and are also used in drug development as well as substance testing. These models are mostly cultivated in membrane-insert systems, their permeability toward different substances being an essential factor. Typically, applied methods for determination of these parameters usually require large sample sizes (e.g., Franz diffusion cell) or laborious equipment (e.g., fluorescence recovery after photobleaching (FRAP)). This study presents a method for determining permeability coefficients directly in membrane-insert systems with diameter sizes of 4.26 mm and 12.2 mm (cultivation area). The method was validated with agarose and collagen gels as well as a collagen cell model representing skin models. The permeation processes of substances with different molecular sizes and permeation through different cell models (consisting of collagen gel, fibroblast, and HaCaT) were accurately described. Moreover, to support the above experimental method, a simulation was established. The simulation fits the experimental data well for substances with small molecular size, up to 14 x 10-10 m Stokes radius (4,000 MW), and is therefore a promising tool to describe the system. Furthermore, the simulation can considerably reduce experimental efforts and is robust enough to be extended or adapted to more complex setups.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Video-Audio Media

MeSH terms

  • Diffusion
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional / methods*
  • Permeability