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Impedance spectroscopy for the non-destructive evaluation of In vitro epidermal models

: Groeber, F.; Engelhardt, L.; Egger, S.; Werthmann, H.; Monaghan, M.; Walles, H.; Hansmann, J.


Pharmaceutical research 32 (2015), No.5, pp.1845-1854
ISSN: 0724-8741
ISSN: 0739-0742
Journal Article
Fraunhofer IGB ()

Reconstructed human epidermis (RHE) is standardly used for the risk assessment of chemical compounds. However, analysis is dependent on invasive methods such as histological processing or 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) staining. As an alternative, we have developed a non-destructive technology to analyze the integrity of epidermal equivalents based on impedance spectroscopy. RHEs were generated and impedance spectra were recorded. from these spectra, we extrapolated electrical characteristics such as the capacitance and the ohmic resistance. Furthermore, the measurable electrical parameters were used to quantify the effects of mechanical and chemical disruption of the epidermal integrity. A fully matured RHE exhibits typical impedance spectra in a frequency ranging between 1 Hz and 100 kHz, which is comparable to the spectra of freshly isolated human epidermal biopsies. We could show that, during RHE maturation, these characteristics change significantly. Thus, capacitance and ohmic resistance can be employed as a criterion for the quality control of skin equivalents. Additionally, our application of impedance spectroscopy reveals sufficient sensitivity to detect a transient decreased ohmic resistance caused by 2-propanol, which is classified as a non-irritant by MTT assays. These results indicate that impedance spectroscopy can be employed as a non-destructive complementary method to assess mild irritative effects, which is currently not possible.