Toxicol Lett 2004 ;149 (1-3):387-90
Syngenta Central Toxicology Laboratory, Alderley Park, Macclesfield SK10 4TJ, UK. [email protected]
The validation of in vitro methods for skin irritation
Several alternative in vitro methods for identifying skin irritants have been developed in the last 10 years, the most promising of which use either reconstituted human skin models or animal (e.g. pig or mouse) skin organ cultures. In 1998, the European Centre for the Validation of Alternative Methods (ECVAM) commissioned a pre-validation study of five methods. Two reconstituted human skin methods (Epiderm and EPISKIN) and one animal skin model (the mouse skin integrity function test, SIFT) performed well in Phases I and II of the study (intralaboratory reproducibility and protocol transfer) and proceeded to Phase III which assessed reproducibility and predictive ability in three independent laboratories using a set of 20 coded test chemicals (10 irritants and 10 non irritants). Intralaboratory reproducibility was again acceptable for all three methods but inter-laboratory reproducibility was acceptable only for EPISKIN. The predictive ability of all three methods was also inadequate. Following refinements to the protocols of Epiderm and EPISKIN and changes to the statistical analysis of SIFT, the predictive ability was improved. In 2003, ECVAM concluded that they could proceed to a full validation study. This will be conducted in two phases and is scheduled for completion early in 2005.