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Growing Skin within a ‘Skin-on-Chip’ Device

Skin’s barrier properties help to resist the entry of foreign substances, and control the delivery of drug through the skin. Owing to recent regulatory ban in the use of animals for testing cosmetic substances, skin researchers were relying on lab-made human skin tissues as alternatives. However, these skin alternatives possess weak barrier function.

Dr Gopu Sriram and a multidisciplinary team of researchers from A*STAR headed by Dr Paul Bigliardi and Dr Zhiping Wang developed a microfluidic ‘organ-on-chip’ device capable of growing morphologically and functionally superior skin within the chip (‘Skin-on-Chip’). Further, the chip enables direct evaluation of barrier function without the need for manual handling. Advantages include integration of skin culture and testing, smaller skin samples, lower test reagents and potential for automation in the future. This work was recently published in Materials Today. Read more about the study “Full-thickness human skin-on-chip with enhanced epidermal morphogenesis and barrier function” here.

3D Full-thickness Skin Equivalents’ Architecture: Click here for the Video

Epidermal morphogenesis and expression of differentiation markers in skin-on-chip equivalents and in skin equivalents grown in culture inserts (static SE) after 2 weeks of air–liquid interface culture compared to normal human skin:

 

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