Porcine ear skin: an in vitro model for human skin

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Abstract

Background/purpose

Porcine ear skin is used in studies of percutaneous penetration as a substitute for human skin. The structure of this tissue, including hair follicles, was studied qualitatively and quantitatively in comparison with human skin.

Methods

Sections of shock-frozen biopsies, biopsies embedded in paraffin and cyanoacrylate skin surface biopsies were investigated using microscopy. The thickness of the different skin layers and the follicular characteristics were determined.

Results

The thickness of the stratum corneum was 17–28 μm, whereas the viable epidermis was 60–85 μm thick. On 1 cm2, 11–25 hairs were detected, showing a diameter of 58–97 μm and a maximal extension depth of 0.96–1.38 mm into the skin. The orifices of the porcine infundibula showed a diameter of approximately 200 μm.

Conclusions

The results obtained are similar to those of human skin, indicating the suitability of this porcine tissue as a model for human skin.

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