Calibration of a continuous flow-through mucosal perfusion system using a synthetic membrane and human vaginal mucosa
Perfusion cells can be used for in vitro studies to determine the permeability of a variety of human tissues to chemical substances. However, the permeability testing equipment needs to be calibrated and monitored at regular intervals to ensure consistency in its operation. While this can be performed using biological membranes, these are subject to inter-patient variation, are dependent on the area from which the tissue was removed, are biodegradable and are relatively scarce. The objective of the present study was to investigate the use of a synthetic membrane (D-12) to calibrate a continuous-flow permeation system and to compare the permeability to water of this membrane to that of vaginal mucosa. Our results showed that the permeability of the membrane to water was approximately half that of human vaginal mucosa. The consistency of flux values, however, as demonstrated by standard error of the mean values, was four times higher for the D-12 membrane than for vaginal mucosa. We conclude that the synthetic membrane is a more suitable calibrator for a flow-through diffusion system than vaginal mucosa.