Validation of an in vivo wound healing model for the quantification of pharmacological effects on epidermal regeneration

Dermatology. 1995;190(2):136-41. doi: 10.1159/000246663.


Background: Non-invasive assessment methods such as measurement of the transepidermal water loss (TEWL) allow a continuous follow-up of cutaneous processes with impairment of the epidermal barrier function.

Objective: The aim of the trial was to establish an in vivo model for the assessment of drug effects on epidermal regeneration.

Methods: Twenty healthy volunteers were included in this double-blind randomized trial. After setting four suction blisters on the volar aspect of the forearm, the epidermis was removed to create a standardized subepidermal wound. Thereafter the wounds were treated topically for 6 h daily during 14 days. The following treatments were to be compared: a clobetasol 17-propionate preparation under occlusion, a corticoid-free cream under occlusion, no treatment and occlusion (aluminium chamber), no treatment and no occlusion. Daily measurement of TEWL above the wounds was performed.

Results: The 0.05% clobetasol 17-propionate preparation caused a dramatic delay in TEWL decrease, whereby the untreated unoccluded field showed a continuous decrease over the observed period of 14 days. Occlusion and corticoid-free treatment led to a weak but significant delay of TEWL decrease when compared to the untreated unoccluded test field.

Conclusion: This model seems to describe re-epithelialization in a reliable manner and can be used for in vivo assessment of drug effects on migrating and proliferating epithelial cells.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blister / pathology
  • Blister / physiopathology
  • Cell Division / drug effects
  • Cell Movement / drug effects
  • Clobetasol / analogs & derivatives*
  • Clobetasol / pharmacology
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Epidermis / drug effects*
  • Epidermis / pathology
  • Epidermis / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Occlusive Dressings
  • Ointments
  • Regeneration / drug effects*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Water Loss, Insensible / drug effects*
  • Wound Healing / physiology


  • Ointments
  • Clobetasol