Exploring Permeation Studies:
types of membranes

We are experts in preclinical studies as in vitro permeation studies with ex vivo and artificial membranes according ICH and OECD guidelines. We are specialized in spray drying micronization of supplements and nutraceuticals for higher bioavailability.

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Permeation studies are essential to understand how dosage forms interact with biological membranes, and provide valuable insights on how the components of a formulation diffuse across or are blocked by membranes. In this article, we explore the membranes used in the permeation studies, with a particular focus on comparing ex vivo with artificial membranes, and within ex vivo membranes highlighting the differences between swine and human membranes, their characteristics, applications, and implications in permeation studies.

Ex Vivo Membranes

Ex vivo membranes are derived from living tissues and when properly stored retain their native structure, thickness and permeation. Ex vivo membranes bridge the gap between in vitro and in vivo studies, providing conditions closely resembling physiological systems, and thus valuable in application as drug efficacy and toxicology synthetic membranes are designed to mimic the properties and behavior of natural membranes, through specific engineered features as pore size, surface charge, and permeability. 

Human Membranes

Swine membranes when employed in permeation studies are widely accepted as the surrogate of choose of human tissues. What makes them so widely accepted is their similarity with the human membranes such as structures, thickness and permeability. They offer a cost-effective and accessible alternative providing valuable data before advancing to human clinical trials.

Human Membranes are the most relevant models for permeation studies allowing for a direct correlation between formulation composition, active compound dose and effect.


Permeation studies have broad applications ranging from evaluation of drug permeation, to formulation optimization. While ex vivo membranes provide a close representation of in vivo conditions, their availability, cost and limited lifespan can be a challenge. Artificial membranes offer greater control and reproducibility, but they may lack certain biological complexities. Swine membranes serve as valuable substitutes for human membranes, but species-specific differences need to be considered when extrapolating results to humans.


The permeation studies provide data over the eventual permeation or lack of the active compounds of the tested dosage form. These provide valuable insight on the quality of the dosage form formulation whether this shows an absorption promotion or barrier effect of its ingredients. Closer the study protocol is to the real life physiological conditions higher is the data reliability. Thus, the reliability grows when moving from artificial membranes to ex vivo, and within ex vivo from swine to human.

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