Prediction of acute inhalation toxicity using in vitro lung surfactant inhibition

Main Article Content

Jorid B. Sørli Yishi Huang Emilie Da Silva Jitka S. Hansen Yi Y. Zuo Marie Frederiksen Asger W. Nørgaard Niels E. Ebbehøj Søren T. Larsen Karin S. Hougaard


Private consumers and professionals may experience acute inhalation toxicity after inhaling aerosolized impregnation products. The distinction between toxic and non-toxic products is difficult to make for producers and product users alike, as there is no clearly described relationship between the chemical composition of the products and induction of toxicity. The currently accepted method for determination of acute inhalation toxicity is based on experiments on animals; it is time-consuming, expensive and causes stress for the animals. Impregnation products are present on the market in large numbers and amounts and exhibit great variety. Therefore, an alternative method to screen for acute inhalation toxicity is needed. The aim of our study was to determine if inhibition of lung surfactant by impregnation products in vitro could accurately predict toxicity in vivo in mice. We tested 21 impregnation products using the constant flow through set-up of the constrained drop surfactometer to determine if the products inhibited surfactant function or not. The same products were tested in a mouse inhalation bioassay to determine their toxicity in vivo. The sensitivity was 100%, i.e., the in vitro method predicted all the products that were toxic for mice to inhale. The specificity of the in vitro test was 63%, i.e., the in vitro method found three false positives in the 21 tested products. Six of the products had been involved in accidental human inhalation where they caused acute inhalation toxicity. All of these six products inhibited lung surfactant function in vitro and were toxic to mice.

Article Details

How to Cite
Sørli, J., Huang, Y., Da Silva, E., Hansen, J., Zuo, Y., Frederiksen, M., Nørgaard, A., Ebbehøj, N., Larsen, S. and Hougaard, K. 2017. Prediction of acute inhalation toxicity using in vitro lung surfactant inhibition. ALTEX - Alternatives to animal experimentation. 35, 1 (Aug. 2017), 26-36. DOI: