Optical investigation of three‐dimensional human skin equivalents: A pilot study

Akhil Kallepalli, Blake McCall, David James, S Junaid, James Halls, Mark Richardson

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Human skin equivalents (HSEs) are three-dimensional living models of human skin that are prepared in vitro by seeding cells onto an appropriate scaffold. They recreate the structure and biological behaviour of real skin, allowing the investigation of processes such as keratinocyte differentiation and interactions between the dermal and epidermal layers. However, for wider applications, their optical and mechanical properties should also replicate those of real skin. We therefore conducted a pilot study to investigate the optical properties of HSEs. We compared Monte Carlo simulations of (a) real human skin and (b) two-layer optical models of HSEs with (c) experimental measurements of transmittance through HSE samples. The skin layers were described using a hybrid collection of optical attenuation coefficients. A linear relationship was observed between the simulations and experiments. For samples thinner than 0.5 mm, an exponential increase in detected power was observed due to fewer instances of absorption and scattering.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere201960053
JournalJournal of Biophotonics
Issue number1
Early online date8 Oct 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2020

Bibliographical note

This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Kallepalli, A, McCall, B, James, DB, Junaid, S, Halls, J, Richardson, MA. Optical investigation of three‐dimensional human skin equivalents: A pilot study. J. Biophotonics. 2019;e20190053, which has been published in final form at https://doi.org/10.1002/jbio.201960053.  This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance With Wiley Terms and Conditions for self-archiving.


  • Monte Carlo
  • TracePro
  • lasers
  • tissue engineering


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