StratiCELL’s 3D model of Malassezia furfur colonisation

28 June 2022

Malassezia furfur is a lipid-dependent yeast naturally living on the human skin. Under dysbiosis, M. furfur overgrowth is associated with skin disorders such as seborrheic dermatitis, an inflammatory condition affecting oily rich areas and leading to dandruff and pruritic lesions. In dandruff, the quantity of living Malassezia on the skin increases by 1.5 to 2 times. This sudden spread of yeast fully invades the epidermis, disrupting the barrier and inducing an inflammatory response.

Antimycotic molecules such as Ketoconazole (KTZ) are available to treat dandruff. KTZ affects the membrane permeability of the yeast, therefore limiting its multiplication. Alternative solutions to fight Malassezia overgrowth are now entering the market, with a need to demonstrate their efficacy in preclinical in vitro research. This is why StratiCELL recently released a new 3D reconstructed human epidermis colonized by a living strain of M. furfur, as an adapted tool to determine the efficacy of innovative dermo-cosmetic compounds to reduce M. furfur overgrowth and strengthen skin responses to infection. In order to refine this model with a reliable benchmark control, StratiCELL offers now KTZ as a reference treatment to reduce the multiplication of the yeast (figure 1) and its penetration inside the epidermal layers (figure 2).

In this 3D model, the reduction of penetration in the presence of KTZ is also demonstrated by a Lucifer Yellow (LY) diffusion assay that measure the permeability of the stratum corneum by immunofluorescence image (figure 2) and quantification of LY diffused through the out/in epidermal barrier (figure 3).

In addition, above the previously mentioned assays, StratiCELL also offers to define the response of the epidermis to this infectious Malassezia context, by monitoring key immune, inflammatory and barrier-related biomarkers.

In its all, this newly available 3D skin model of M. furfur infection and the various associated tests proposed by StratiCELL, represent a new promising in vitro efficacy testing tool which should allow to accelerate dermo-cosmetic innovations targeting M. furfur overgrowth and associated skin disorders.

To get more information on StratiCELL’s latest in vitro models and tests, register on or contact directly StratiCELL at



Christel Boudry

Business Developer

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