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Pharmacology and toxicology of differentiated cell types, their cell-cell and cell-matrix interactions in an in vitro reconstructed human skin model


The aim of this project is to perfect a living human skin equivalent using advanced culture procedures and to validate it as reliable predictive in vitro system for human skin pharmaco-toxicology.

Human skin was the first organ to be reconstructed in vitro and is likely to provide a predictive system for evaluating drug efficacy and toxicity, avoiding animal experimentation. organogenesis in vitro for pharmacological studies is a very new and promising field of investigation.

Culturing cells in close contact with their physiological matrix molecules and with cell types usually adjacent in vivo, cells have been shown to communicate and differentiated in this skin equivalent. These cell-matrix-cell interactions greatly modify the response to pharmaco-toxicological agents, resembling the situation in vivo and demonstrating that some pharmaceutical agents operate on the cell-cell and cell-matrix communication system.

To achieve our goal, the collaboration begun during a previous BAP programme will be reinforced in order to study the role of cell-matrix and cell-cell interactions in differentiation processes and in pharmacological responses.

The validation of these models with a possible transfer to industry to screen the activity of drugs on a large scale is expected for wound healing promoters, antipsoriatic drugs, pigmentogenic, antineoplastic and anti-ageing substances in the next four years.

In addition, this concept of organogenesis in vitro, allowing pharmaco-toxicology at the cellular communication level, will identify pathways that might represent targets for drugs of high socioeconomic value.

This first human organ reconstructed in vitro can be considered as a prototype. Most of the technical innovations made with the skin model could be applied to the reconstruction of other organs such as blood vessels, ligaments, endocrine glands, etc.

Funding Scheme

CSC - Cost-sharing contracts


Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale
Avenue Claude Vellefaux
75475 Paris

Participants (4)

L'Oréal SA
1 Rue Eugène Schueller
93600 Aulnay-sous-bois
Stiftung Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum
Im Neuenheimer Feld 280
69120 Heidelberg
Joseph-stelzmann-srasse 52
50931 Koeln
Université de Liège

4000 Liège