Gattefossé co-develops 3D bioprinted skin chips to improve in vitro tests

French companies Gattefossé and CTIBiotech have developed what is claimed to be the world’s first bioimpedance 3D bioprinted skin chips to link cosmetics lab testing to humans.

The developed model is said to allow fast and non-invasive measurement of sebum production and improve the predictivity of in vitro tests of sebum-regulating ingredients.

Sebum is a complex lipids mixture secreted by sebocytes and deposited in stratum corneum for helping to the skin barrier function.

Disruption of sebum production leads to common skin diseases, including acne or atopic dermatitis; it also contributes to the development of oily or dry skin and impacts both appearance and beauty of the skin.

Solutions to develop more efficient cosmetics still require more predictive testing ranging from lab data to humans. Success of lab-to-donor data is not easy and quite often fails because of no proper translational readouts.

Gattefossé and CTIBiotech therefore joined forces to develop a relevant 3D bio printed model integrating sebocytes for measuring non-invasive parameters in vitro as on real humans while at the same time giving laboratory readouts.

Bioimpedance (also known as bioelectrical impedance analysis) has been widely used to monitor personal health and body composition and adjust diet and lifestyles accordingly.

Using connected scales, Gattefossé and CTIBiotech used bioimpedance to evaluate changes in the local environment of a 3D skin model integrating sebocytes.

Measurement of such a non-invasive electrical activity allowed us to follow in real-time the sebum production, in addition to laboratory readouts dealing with cellular, matrix and tissue development.

“Bioimpedance has long been used in our bathroom scales and by dieticians to understand general body composition. Application of this to skin is a natural advance on this, but the real innovation comes from developing real-time analysis for oil changes,” said Professor Colin McGuckin, president and chief scientific officer of CTIBiotech.

“We advanced our 3D printed full thickness skin models with an integrated bioimpedance chip connected to monitor changes. Linking cosmetics screening in this way advances faster towards human tests and increases our ability to make more effective products,” he added.

Gattefossé skin biology research manager Dr Nicolas Bechetoille said: “Full thickness skin models containing sebocytes have reproducible oil production which is increased by linoleic acid and reduced by TOFA, and remarkably this is characterized by significant changes in bioimpedance in both printed tissues and culture supernatants surrounding them.

“Bioimpedance, linked to the sebum production thus proves to be an in vitro non-invasive proper parameter and measurable in real-time, to design ever more predictive and effective testing, since 3D models described here and linked with a simple chip system, accurately mirror changes within skin models as on live donors”.