Evaluation of beneficial and adverse effects of glucocorticoids on a newly developed full-thickness skin model

Nadja Nicole Zöller, Stefan Kippenberger, Diamant Thaçi, Karsten Mewes, Martina Spiegel, Andrea Sättler, Maike Schultz, Jürgen Bereiter-Hahn, Roland Kaufmann, August Bernd*

*Corresponding author for this work
49 Citations (Scopus)


Glucocorticoids (GCs) are highly effective compounds widely used in the treatment of inflammatory diseases; however, they offer distinct adverse effects such as skin thinning in response to long-term topical treatment. Nevertheless it is difficult to deduce the safety of a newly synthesized compound from its structural formula. Efficient assay systems that measure beneficial and adverse effects are needed. In the present study the applicability of a three-dimensional full-thickness skin model (FTSM) is tested to display GC-induced effects regarding anti-inflammation and atrophy. It is shown that topical application of a commercial GC ointment suppresses the ultraviolet (UV)B induced induction of interleukin (IL)-6 and IL-8. Addition of purified betamethasone-17-valerate, prednicarbate and clobetasol-17-propionate to the culture medium for 14 days caused a reduction in the number of epidermal cell-layers corresponding to the atrophic risk found in vivo. Similarly, repeated topical application of five GC creams induced epidermal thinning. Evidence is given that the inhibitory effect on keratinocyte proliferation contributes to this effect. Furthermore, dermal thinning was monitored by measuring type I collagen synthesis; a decreased collagen synthesis similar to the in vivo situation is shown. The present study demonstrates the versatility of this FTSM in the validation of effectiveness and safety of GCs.

Original languageEnglish
JournalToxicology in Vitro
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)747-759
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 04.2008

Research Areas and Centers

  • Academic Focus: Center for Infection and Inflammation Research (ZIEL)


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