The skin is a protective and innervated organ that decodes a wide range of tactile, thermal and noxious stimuli. This involves a connection between sensory neurons and epidermis, which is made up of keratinocytes. Among skin pathologies, sensitive skin syndrome (SSS) affects about 50% of the population and is correlated with small-fibers neuropathies resulting in neuropathic pain. To model the SSS, it is important to activate TRPV1, a membrane receptor for heat overactivated in SSS, with its specific agonist capsaicin. A 3D model of reconstructed and innervated epidermis allows to understand the mechanisms of fine action of SSS actives.
We are developing at NETRI microfluidic devices with a complex architecture to create a 3D model of sensitive skin. Composed of 4 compartments (channels and 3D-Deposition Chamber) isolated but connected by either a porous membrane or by microchannels, these devices allow neurons and keratinocytes co-culture in 3D.