AUTHORS : Bock U. Haberland A Kandárová H Korting HC Liebsch M Mahmoud A Rübbelke MK Schäfer UF Schäfer-Korting M. Schaller M Schmidt E Schreiber S Vuia A 2005 Toxicol In Vitro. 2005 Sep;19(6):813-22. Institut für Pharmazie, Abteilung Pharmakologie und Toxikologie, Freie Universität Berlin, Königin-Luise-Str. 2+4, D-14195 Berlin, Germany. Print Reconstructed epidermis versus human and animal skin in skin absorption studies. European chemical policy in general and the REACH initiative in particular will increase the number of chemical substances submitted to toxicological evaluation by several orders of magnitude compared to the current status. To limit animal exposure the resulting enormous increase in testing, however, asks for validated in vitro test systems. While the OECD favours in vitro testing for cutaneous absorption using viable human and animal skin (Guideline 428) the availability of viable human skin is already limited today. We present a comparison of various in vitro techniques suitable for routine skin absorption studies including commercially available reconstructed human epidermis which may be a reliable alternative to excised human and animal skin. In order to develop a protocol for the subsequent transfer to partner laboratories the experimental set-up was analysed stepwise using the OECD reference compounds caffeine and testosterone. Franz cell type, the donor and receptor media for hydrophilic/lipophilic substances, albumin and tensid addition, and storage conditions of the excised skins were systematically varied. A protocol has been developed which now allows to proceed to the pre-validation process.