Non-animal models of epithelial barriers (skin, intestine and lung) in research, industrial applications and regulatory toxicology

Sarah Gordon, Mardas Daneshian, Joke Bouwstra, Francesca Caloni, Samuel Constant, Donna E. Davies, Gudrun Dandekar, Carlos A. Guzman, Eric Fabian, Eleonore Haltner, Thomas Hartung, Nina Hasiwa, Patrick J Hayden, Helena Kandarova, Sangeeta Khare, Harald F Krug, Carsten Kneuer, Marcel Leist, Guoping Lian, Uwe MarxMarco Metzger, Katharina Ott, Pilar Prieto, Michael Symmons Roberts, Erwin L. Roggen, Tewes Tralau, Claudia Van Den Braak, Heike Walles, Claus Michael Lehr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

82 Citations (Scopus)


Models of the outer epithelia of the human body - namely the skin, the intestine and the lung - have found valid applications in both research and industrial settings as attractive alternatives to animal testing. A variety of approaches to model these barriers are currently employed in such fields, ranging from the utilization of ex vivo tissue to reconstructed in vitro models, and further to chip-based technologies, synthetic membrane systems and, of increasing current interest, in silico modeling approaches. An international group of experts in the field of epithelial barriers was convened from academia, industry and regulatory bodies to present both the current state of the art of non-animal models of the skin, intestinal and pulmonary barriers in their various felds of application, and to discuss research-based, industry-driven and regulatory-relevant future directions for both the development of new models and the refinement of existing test methods. Issues of model relevance and preference, validation and standardization, acceptance, and the need for simplicity versus complexity were focal themes of the discussions. The outcomes of workshop presentations and discussions, in relation to both current status and future directions in the utilization and development of epithelial barrier models, are presented by the attending experts in the current report.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)327-378
Number of pages52
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2015

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
D. E. Davies is supported by grants from Medical Research Council (UK), Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, British Lung Foundation, Asthma, Allergy and Inflammation Research (AAIR) Charity, National Centre for Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs) and National Institute for Health Research (UK).


  • Cytotoxicity
  • Epithelial cell culture
  • In vitro models
  • Permeability
  • Transport studies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Medical Laboratory Technology


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