Pigmented in vitro skin model for the investigation of light-induced skin damage

Pigmented in vitro skin models are treated with defined doses of UV-light (UV-A / UV-B or combination) using the UV irradiation system BioSUN from Vilber Lourmat.



Field of application:

Melanocytes serve an important protective function in the skin. They are located in hair follicles and in the basal layer of the epidermis. When exposed to sun light they synthesize an important UV-absorbing pigment, melanin. This is then distributed to keratinocytes located in the surrounding area of the melanocytes. DNA is thus protected from UV-light associated damages.

The cosmetic industry focusses not only on the improvement of sun screens but also on the development of melanogenic substances which stimulate melanin production in the skin functioning as a self-protective UV-shield. In addition, anti-oxidative substances are used as radical scavengers to prevent light-induced skin damages and even skin cancer.

Sun protective substances and formulations with melanogenic or anti-oxidative potential can be analyzed on our pigmented in vitro skin model (epidermal or full-thickness model). We can support the development of UV-protective substances and formulations. Infections that affect skin pigmentation can also be examined.

Endpoints/Outcome parameter

Substances and formulations with sun protective or radical scavenging properties can be topically or systemically applied. Tanning and whitening effects can be quantified after UV-irradiation (UV-A / UV-B or combination) is carried out with a defined irradiation dose. Skin aging and alterations in collagen production can be monitored.

Readout parameter

After treatment various parameters e.g. viability, apoptosis, necrosis, cytokine profiles (inflammation), DNA-damage, melanin-quantification, alterations in the extracellular matrix, radical status can be measured with the following analytical methods

  • Raman-Spectrometry
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Histology / Immuno-Histology
  • Fluorescence Microscopy
  • Laser Scanning Microscopy
  • ESR-Spectroscopy

Quality management and validation

SOP, Quality Control, Positive and Negative Control, Reference Substances


  • In vitro-Hauttestsysteme zur Untersuchung lichtassoziierter Hautschädigung
    Biospektrum 02.15, S.172-174,21. Jahrgang, Springer
    DOI: 10.1007/s12268-015-0557-z