Skin model

Development of a three-dimensional full skin model with integrated blood vessels

The aim of the project, coordinated by Dr. Smriti Singh (DWI) in cooperation with Prof. Dr. Jens Baron (University Hospital RWTH Aachen), was to develop a three-dimensional full skin model with integrated blood vessels. Such a skin model is suitable for certain toxicology tests and thus represents an important alternative to animal testing. The skin model developed in this project is stable over a period of more than 49 days and is superior to other skin models in this respect. The model has already been used to mimic psoriasis and to study the influence of an anti-inflammatory protein in the formation of specialized skin cells.

The team also succeeded in integrating functional blood vessels in this artificial skin. In order to stabilize the blood vessel structure over an even longer period of time, the scientists developed a flow chamber and established in vitro experimental protocols according to the guidelines of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

The project was awarded the Aachen Animal Welfare Prize for innovative scientific work. This work contributes to the 3R concept according to Russel and Burch (Replacement, Reduction, Refinement). In other words, it helps to replace or reduce animal experiments or leads to an improvement in experimental conditions.

Project funding: Förderverein Deutsches Wollforschungsinstitut Aachen e.V. (2015-2019)