ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Morphological Characterization of a Reconstructed, Cultured Human Epidermal Model (LabCyte EPI-MODEL) As an Alternative to in Vivo Models

Masakazu Katoh, Kentaro Kubo, Fumiyasu Hamajima, Takahiro Ogasawara, and Ken-ichiro Hata

R&D Department, Japan Tissue Engineering Co., Ltd, Aichi, Japan

AATEX 14(2):873-878, 2009

Abstract
The aim of this study was to evaluate LabCyte EPI-MODEL, a commercially available reconstructed, cultured human epidermal model, on the basis of a morphological characterization using optical microscopy, electron microscopy and the expression of specific differentiation markers through immunohistochemistry. Histological examination showed a completely stratified epidermis containing all major epidermal layers, including a stratum basal (SB), stratum spinosum (SS), stratum granulosum (SG), and stratum corneum (SC). In addition, specific epidermal differentiation markers and basement membrane constituents were expressed in the appropriate regions, as seen in human skin. Ultrastructurally, it was possible to observe a fully developed basement membrane zone, consisting of a highly developed lamina densa, lamina lucida, and anchoring filaments. Extrusion of lamellar bodies was observed at the interface between the SG and SC. Lipid lamellae, showing a characteristic electron dense and electron lucent pat-tern, were present. Keratohyalin granules were ubiquitously present in the granular cells at the SG. In conclusion, the LabCyte EPI-MODEL, a reconstructed, cultured human epidermal model, is highly similar to that of native skin. Therefore, this epidermal model provides a promising alternative to animal testing, as a means to assess skin irritation, percutaneous absorption, and other skin-related research.

Key words: reconstructed human skin, morphology, epidermis

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(AATEX: Altern. Animal Test. EXperiment.: Alternatives to Animal Testing and EXperimentation)