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Standardization of In Vitro Macrophotography for Assessment of Cutaneous Responses

Authors


*Corresponding author email: coelhos@mail.nih.gov (Sergio G. Coelho)

Abstract

The increased popularity of commercially available three-dimensional human skin equivalents in recent years has allowed for assessment of melanogenesis modulated by compounds topically applied to the skin or directly incorporated from the medium. These skin equivalents provide a suitable model for elucidating the mechanisms of action of various factors that modulate skin pigmentation or other properties of the skin. As such, researchers need to objectively quantify cutaneous responses at the macroscopic level. A simple method to standardize macrophotography images is reported that can quantify cutaneous responses in human skin equivalents of Asian, Black or African American, and Caucasian or White racial/ethnic origin. Macrophotographs are analyzed using the Commission Internationale de l’Eclairage L*a*b* color space system in combination with a personal computer and image editing software. Pigmentation changes monitored over a 9 day period showed a high correlation with melanin content evaluated in Fontana–Masson-stained sections. These results indicate the feasibility of using a macrophotography setup in a sterile tissue culture environment to objectively assess in vitro cutaneous responses in human skin equivalents. This serves as an adjunct tool to biochemical and morphological methods to effectively quantify changes in pigmentation over time.

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