International ring trial of the epidermal equivalent sensitizer potency assay: reproducibility and predictive capacity

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Marc A. T. Teunis
Sander W. Spiekstra
Mieke Smits
Els Adriaens
Tobias Eltze
Valentina Galbiati
Cyrille Krul
Robert Landsiedel
Raymond Pieters
Judith Reinders
Erwin Roggen
Emanuela Corsini
Susan Gibbs


This assay does not distinguish a sensitizer from a non-sensitizer, but may classify known skin sensitizers according to their potency. It assesses the chemical concentration resulting in 50% cytotoxicity (EE-EC50) or the 2-fold increase in IL-1α (IL-1α2x). Four laboratories received 13 coded sensitizers. Reproducible results were obtained in each laboratory. A binary prediction model, EC50 ≥7 mg/ml = weak to moderate sensitizer and EC50 <7 mg/ml = strong to extreme sensitizer had an accuracy of 77%. A superior EE (EC50 and IL-1α2x) correlation was observed to human in vivo DSA05 data compared to LLNA-EC3 data. Human in vivo NOEL and LLNA-EC3 data correlated to a similar extent to in vitro EE data. Our results indicate that this easily transferable EE potency assay is suitable for testing chemical allergens of unknown potencies and may now be ready for further validation, providing complementary potency information to other assays already undergoing validation for assessing skin sensitization potential.

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Teunis, M., Spiekstra, S., Smits, M., Adriaens, E., Eltze, T., Galbiati, V., Krul, C., Landsiedel, R., Pieters, R., Reinders, J., Roggen, E., Corsini, E. and Gibbs, S. (2014) “International ring trial of the epidermal equivalent sensitizer potency assay: reproducibility and predictive capacity”, ALTEX - Alternatives to animal experimentation, 31(3), pp. 251-268. doi: 10.14573/altex.1308021.

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