Perkins, M.A., Osborne, R., Johnson, G.R. The Procter & Gamble Co., Cincinnati, OH. (1996).

National and international regulations require that chemicals must be properly classified, labeled, packaged, and transported based on their ability to damage or destroy tissue, e.g., skin. Traditionally, skin corrosion assessments were based on tests involving topical application of test substances to the skin of rabbits. In the present work, an in vitro skin corrosion test based on the use of reconstructed human skin cultures was developed as a potential replacement for in vivo rabbit skin tests for corrosion. In the in vitro method, test substances were applied topically to the stratum corneum surface of human skin cultures. Skin culture damage or cytotoxicity was measured as decreased 3-[4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl] 2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) vital dye metabolism. In time-course experiments, the time (in minutes) of test material exposure eliciting a 50% reduction of MTT metabolism (i.e., t50 value) was calculated. Using this method we evaluated 24 chemicals and found that the 9 corrosive chemicals were accurately distinguished from 15 strong, moderate, or mild skin irritants, using an in vitro cutoff of t50 < 3 min. Histologic examination of the cultures indicated gradations of epidermal necrosis quantitated using a specially designed grading scale, which correlated well with the corrosivity of treatment chemicals and cytotoxicity measurements. The predictivity of the method was confirmed and was consistent in skin culture models from two suppliers. Thus, the utility of human skin equivalent cultures as a screening tool for prediction of skin corrosivity appears to be independent of the commercial source of the cultures. We conclude that the in vitro assay using human skin equivalent cultures is a promising alternative to in vivo rabbit skin corrosion tests for assessment of the corrosivity of chemicals to human skin.


Chemicals, Corrosion, Corrosivity, Corrosivity testing, Cytotoxicity, Dermal corrosion, Endpoints, MTT, EpiDerm, MTT, MTT ET-50 tissue viability assay, MTT assay, Necrosis, Pre-validation, Prediction model, Prediction model, corrosion, Prevalidation, Skin corrosion, Skin corrosivity, Validation

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