Bioengineering of a Full-Thickness Skin Equivalent in a 96-Well Insert Format for Substance Permeation Studies and Organ-On-A-Chip Applications

Bioengineering (Basel). 2018 Jun 7;5(2):43. doi: 10.3390/bioengineering5020043.


The human skin is involved in protecting the inner body from constant exposure to outer environmental stimuli. There is an evident need to screen for toxicity and the efficacy of drugs and cosmetics applied to the skin. To date, animal studies are still the standard method for substance testing, although they are currently controversially discussed Therefore, the multi-organ chip is an attractive alternative to replace animal testing. The two-organ chip is designed to hold 96-well cell culture inserts (CCIs). Small-sized skin equivalents are needed for this. In this study, full-thickness skin equivalents (ftSEs) were generated successfully inside 96-well CCIs. These skin equivalents developed with in vivo-like histological architecture, with normal differentiation marker expressions and proliferation rates. The 96-well CCI-based ftSEs were successfully integrated into the two-organ chip. The permeation of fluorescein sodium salt through the ftSEs was monitored during the culture. The results show a decreasing value for the permeation over time, which seems a promising method to track the development of the ftSEs. Additionally, the permeation was implemented in a computational fluid dynamics simulation, as a tool to predict results in long-term experiments. The advantage of these ftSEs is the reduced need for cells and substances, which makes them more suitable for high throughput assays.

Keywords: 96-well cell culture insert; full thickness skin equivalents; multi-organ chip; substance permeation.