Proof of Concept of the VITROCELL® Dry Powder Chamber: A New In Vitro Test System for the Controlled Deposition of Aerosol Formulations

May 1, 2017

Marius Hittinger,1 Sarah Barthold,2 Lorenz Siebenbürger,1 Kilian Zäh,3 Alexander Gress,1 Sabrina Guenther,1 Birgit Wiegand,1 Carsten Boerger,1 Markus Berger,4 Tobias Krebs,4 Henrik Groß,1 and Claus-Michael Lehr1,5

1PharmBioTec GmbH, Saarbrücken, Germany
2Saarland University, Department of Pharmacy, Saarbrücken, Germany
3Scienceneering UG, Blieskastel, Germany
4Vitrocell Systems GmbH, Waldkirch, Germany
5Helmholtz Institute for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland (HIPS), HZI, Saarbrücken, Germany

The VITROCELL® Dry Powder Chamber is designed for aerosol deposition of different sized particles separated by their time of flight. For the development of this new instrument salbutamol sulphate was successfully exposed to human pulmonary epithelial cell culture by sedimentation and diffusion in vitro.


Cell- and tissue-based in vitro tests may provide valuable information on the safety and efficacy of new aerosol formulation in early stage of development quickly and at low costs. Besides an increasing number of cell lines and complex set-ups of models, some specially designed instruments allow the deposition of aerosols on cells under physiological air-liquid culture conditions [1, 2]. However, aerosol deposition in the lung is dependent on aerodynamic particle properties, which ideally should also be addressed in a predictive way in an ideal in vitro system. In this study, we describe the development of a new instrument which allows for the controlled particle deposition on human pulmonary epithelial cell culture by sedimentation and diffusion in vitro. As a first proof of concept, we studied the behavior of a commercially available salbutamol sulfate formulation and investigated particle size and drug amount after deposition on Transwell™ inserts.

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