In vitro assessment of eye irritancy using the Reconstructed Human Corneal Epithelial SkinEthic HCE model: application to 435 substances from consumer products industry.

The 7th amendment of the EU Cosmetics Directive led to the ban of eye irritation testing for cosmetic ingredients in animals, effective from March 11th 2009. Over the last 20years, many efforts have been made to find reliable and relevant alternative methods. The SkinEthic HCE model was used to evaluate the in vitro eye irritancy potential of substances from a cosmetic industry portfolio. An optimized protocol based on a specific 1-h treatment and a 16-h post-treatment incubation period was first assessed on a set of 102 substances. The prediction model (PM) based on a 50% viability cut-off, allowed to draw up two classes (Irritants and Non-Irritants), with good associated sensitivity (86.2%) and specificity (83.5%). To check the robustness of the method, the evaluated set was expanded up to 435 substances. Final performances maintained a high level and were characterized by an overall accuracy value > 82% when using EU or GHS classification rules. Results showed that the SkinEthic HCE test method is a promising in vitro tool for the prediction of eye irritancy. Optimization datasets were shared with the COLIPA Eye Irritation Project Team and ECVAM experts, and reviewed as part of an ongoing progression to enter an ECVAM prospective validation study for eye irritation.