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Xenobiotic Metabolism in Human Skin and 3D Human Skin Reconstructs: A Review

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In this review, we discuss and compare studies of xenobiotic metabolism in both human skin and 3D human skin reconstructs. In comparison to the liver, the skin is a less studied organ in terms of characterising metabolic capability. While the skin forms the major protective barrier to environmental chemical exposure, it is also a potential target organ for adverse health effects. Occupational, accidental or intended-use exposure to toxic chemicals could result in acute or delayed injury to the skin (e.g. inflammation, allergy, cancer). Skin metabolism may play a role in the manifestation or amelioration of adverse effects via the topical route. Today, we have robust testing strategies to assess the potential for local skin toxicity of chemical exposure. Such methods (e.g. the local lymph node assay for assessing skin sensitisation; skin painting carcinogenicity studies) incorporate skin metabolism implicitly in the in vivo model system used. In light of recent European legislation (i.e. 7th Amendment to the Cosmetics Directive and Registration Evaluation and Authorisation of existing Chemicals (REACH)), non-animal approaches will be required to reduce and replace animal experiments for chemical risk assessment. It is expected that new models and approaches will need to account for skin metabolism explicitly, as the mechanisms of adverse effects in the skin are deconvoluted. 3D skin models have been proposed as a tool to use in new in vitro alternative approaches. In order to be able to use 3D skin models in this context, we need to understand their metabolic competency in relation to xenobiotic biotransformation and whether functional activity is representative of that seen in human skin.

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Keywords: 3D skin reconstructs; Cytochrome P450; IDO expression; Microarray; Peptidases; in vitro skin absorption

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2007

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  • Current Drug Metabolism aims to cover all the latest and outstanding developments in drug metabolism and disposition. The journal serves as an international forum for the publication of timely reviews in drug metabolism. Current Drug Metabolism is an essential journal for academic, clinical, government and pharmaceutical scientists who wish to be kept informed and up-to-date with the latest and most important developments. The journal covers the following areas:

    In vitro systems including CYP-450; enzyme induction and inhibition; drug-drug interactions and enzyme kinetics; pharmacokinetics, toxicokinetics, species scaling and extrapolations; P-glycoprotein and transport carriers; target organ toxicity and interindividual variability; drug metabolism and disposition studies; extrahepatic metabolism; phase I and phase II metabolism; recent developments for the identification of drug metabolites and adducts.
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