Development and Characterization of an In Vitro Round Window Membrane Model for Drug Permeability Evaluations

Ruby Singh, Bhaskar Birru, Joachim G.S. Veit, Elizabeth M. Arrigali, Monica A. Serban

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Hearing loss and balance disorders are highly common disorders, and the development of effective oto-therapeutics remains an area of intense research. Drug development and screening in the hearing research field heavily rely on the use of preclinical models with often ambiguous translational relevance. This often leads to failed advancement in the market of effective therapeutics. In this context, especially for inner ear-specific pathologies, the availability of an in vitro, physiologically relevant, round window membrane (RWM) model could enable rapid, high-throughput screening of potential topical drugs for inner ear and cochlear dysfunctions and could help accelerate the advancement to clinic and market of more viable drug candidates. In this study, we report the development and evaluation of an in vitro model that mimics the native RWM tissue morphology and microenvironment as shown via immunostaining and histological analyses. The developed three-dimensional (3D) in vitro model was additionally assessed for barrier integrity by transepithelial electrical resistance, and the permeability of lipophilic and hydrophilic drugs was determined. Our collective findings suggest that this in vitro model could serve as a tool for rapid development and screening of topically deliverable oto-therapeutics.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1105
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2022


Funding for this study was provided by an Office of Naval Research grant (N00014-20-1-2874) to Serban.

FundersFunder number
Office of Naval ResearchN00014-20-1-2874


    • airway cells
    • drug permeation
    • in vitro models
    • round window membrane


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