1995 Pigment Cell Res 1995 Oct ;8 (5):241-9
Laboratoire de Dermatologie, Universite de Bordeaux II, France.

Ex vivo reconstruction of the epidermis with melanocytes and the influence of UVB

To study pigmentation, we have reconstructed an epidermis ex vivo with keratinocytes and melanocytes. Keratinocytes and melanocytes were grown first in primary cocultures and separately in secondary cultures, then seeded on a dead deepidermized dermis (Prunieras type) at a 1:20 melanocyte/keratinocyte ratio. Reconstructed epidermis were grown in a special medium enriched with calcium and fetal bovine serum lifted for 15 days at the air-liquid interface. Using histology, immunohistochemistry and electron microscopy we have shown an excellent level of differentiation of the reconstructed epidermis and a physiologic distribution of dendritic melanocytes in the basal layer capable of melanosome transfer to keratinocytes. UVB irradiation 0.15 J/cm2 x 5 consecutive days increased melanocyte numbers and stimulated pigmentation as evidenced macroscopically and microscopically and at the biochemical level. Following UVB irradiation melanosome transfer was markedly increased and isolated or clumps of melanosomes were seen in the basal layers as well as in the stratum corneum. This model allows the study of the physiology of pigmentation ex vivo.