> ATERA – Full-Thickness Skin

The ATERA Reconstructed Human Full-Thickness (RHFT) skin model features morphological equivalence with human skin and allows convenient handling in research applications.

Comparable to human skin, the RHFT consists of a dermal and epidermal layer that are connected by a functional basement membrane. The dermal layer is generated by seeding human primary fibroblasts into a high-density collagen matrix. As such the cells behave in a microenvironment comparable to the human dermis. In addition, human epidermal keratinocytes are seeded on top of the dermal matrix. Due to a special serum free tissue culture medium and the cultivation at the air-liquid interface, the epidermal cells differentiate and form a well stratified epidermis featuring a natural barrier function. As the full thickness skin model shows a high correlation to the in vivo human skin with only minimum signs of contraction, it is applicable for a variety of testing applications including complex toxicological endpoints such as genotoxicity testing or efficacy testing of pharmacological and cosmetic formulations. Additionally, the non-contracting human full-thickness skin model can also be used for cutaneous wound healing assays.


The ATERA – Full-Thickness skin model is cultured at the air-liquid-interface for 11 days in standard tissue culture inserts. The model has constant surface area of 1 cm² allowing direct and easy substance application. Compared to other collagen-based skin models, ATERA RHFT shows much lower contraction and weight loss over time and therefore allows measuring trans-epithelial electrical resistance, indicative for skin barrier function.



The ATERA – Full-Thickness skin model resembles native human skin in its histological architecture as well as in displaying a wide spectrum of corresponding physiological parameters.

Atera Skin Models RHFT

Figure 1: The models are cultured in standard cell culture inserts and have a surface area of 1 cm² (A). In contrast to standard RHFTs the ATERA RHFT model shows an increased mechanical stability (B). Due to the culture at the air-liquid-interface (C) primary keratinocytes differentiate physiologically and form all epidermal layers as in native skin (D). SEM Images of the RHFT model compared to conventional collagen model (E) showed the intact collagen ultrastructure in both images, with a higher number of collagen fibers in the ATERA model. SC: Stratum corneum; SG: Stratum granulosum; SS: Stratum spinosum; SB: Stratum basale; DL: Dermal layers; RHFT models marked with arrowheads

The ATERA – Full-Thickness skin model can be used for a broad range of endpoints in safety and efficacy testing including e.g. genotoxicity, efficacy testing and wound healing. Besides the possibility to topically challenge the model with both hydrophilic and hydrophobic substances and formulations, hydrophilic substances can also be added to the basolateral compartment to mimic systemic application scenarios.

To ensure reproducible results for our customers, high quality control standards are employed. All cell batches used for tissue reconstruction are tested before use for Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, HIV, and Mycoplasma.

Quality criterion Used assay Acceptance limit
Tissue morphology H&E staining
  • Well defined epidermal layer with 1 layer of basal cells, 2 to 4 layers of stratum spinosum and stratum granulosum and a corneous layer without cell nuclei.
  • Consistent dermal layer with homogenously distributed fibroblasts
Barrier function ImpSpec  Impedance above 500 Ohm*cm²

Contact information

To order the ATERA – Full-Thickness skin model please contact us under:
Phone : +33 6 87 21 40 68 and: +33 6 81 64 24 75 or e-mail on our contact page


Available models

Besides the standard ATERA – RHE, additional model types can be ordered that vary in the culture period and surface area, depending on the specific needs.

Model Day of culture Surface area Reference number
ATERA RHFT 12 days 1.1 cm2 ASMFT-11
ATERA RHFT 7 8 days 1.1 cm2 ASMFT-7
ATERA RHD 7 days 1.1 cm2 ASMD-7


Conditions of order

Tissue culture medium is provided free of charge for 5 days of tissue culture. In case a prolonged culture period is required, additional tissue growth medium can be purchased. Minimum number of models to be orders is 12 models. The minimum order size of culture medium is 60 ml.

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