Brinkmann1, J., Stolpmann1, K., Trappe1, S., Otter1, T., Genkinger1, D., Bock2, U., Liebsch3, M., Henkler1, F., Hutzler1, C., and Luch1,3, A. 1German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR), Department of Product Safety, 10589 Berlin, Germany; 2Across Barriers GmbH, 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany; and 3German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR), Department of Experimental Toxicology and Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing, 12277 Berlin, Germany.

The polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) benzo[a]pyrene (BP) is metabolized into a complex pattern of BP derivatives, among which the ultimate carcinogen (+)-anti-BP-7,8-diol-9,10- epoxide (BPDE) is formed to certain extents. Skin is frequently in contact with PAHs and data on the metabolic capacity of skin tissue toward these compounds are inconclusive. We compared BP metabolism in excised human skin, commercially available in vitro 3D skin models and primary 2D skin cell cultures, and analyzed the metabolically catalyzed occurrence of seven different BP follow-up products by means of liquid chromatography coupled to tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). All models investigated were competent to metabolize BP, and the metabolic profiles generated by ex vivo human skin and skin models were remarkably similar. Furthermore, the genotoxicity of BP and its derivatives was monitored in these models via comet assays. In a full-thickness skin, equivalent BP-mediated genotoxic stress was generated via keratinocytes. Cultured primary keratinocytes revealed a level of genotoxicity comparable with that of direct exposure to 50–100nM of BPDE. Our data demonstrate that the metabolic capacity of human skin ex vivo, as well as organotypic human 3D skin models toward BP, is sufficient to cause significant genotoxic stress and thus cutaneous bioactivation may potentially contribute to mutations that ultimately lead to skin cancer.


Aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR), Benzo[a]pyrene metabolites, Biotransformation, BP-7,8-diol-9,10-epoxide (BPDE), Comet assay, Cytochrome P450 1A1, Cytochrome P450 1B1, EFT-400, EPI-200, ex vivo human skin, Genotoxicity, Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs)

Materials Tested


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