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Validation of the 3D reconstructed human skin Comet assay, an animal-free alternative for following-up positive results from standard in vitro genotoxicity assays.

Affiliation
Procter & Gamble , United States
Pfuhler, Stefan;
Affiliation
German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR), Department 7 Chemical and Product Safety, Unit 73 Safety of Non-Food Products, Germany
Pirow, Ralph;
Affiliation
Procter & Gamble , United States
Downs, Thomas R;
Affiliation
German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR), Department 7 Chemical and Product Safety, Unit 76 Fibre and Nanotoxicology
Haase, Andrea;
Affiliation
Cosmetics Europe , Belgium
Hewitt, Nicola;
Affiliation
German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR), Department 7 Chemical and Product Safety, Germany
Luch, Andreas;
Affiliation
Henkel AG &Co KGaA , Germany
Merkel, Marion;
Affiliation
Henkel AG &Co KGaA , Germany
Petrick, Claudia;
Affiliation
Freie Universität Berlin, Institute for Pharmacy (Pharmacology and Toxicology) , Germany
Said, André;
Affiliation
Freie Universität Berlin, Institute for Pharmacy (Pharmacology and Toxicology) , Germany
Schäfer-Korting, Monika;
Affiliation
Henkel AG &Co KGaA , Germany
Reisinger, Kerstin

As part of the safety assessment process, all industrial sectors employ genotoxicity test batteries, starting with well-established in vitro assays. However, these batteries have limited predictive capacity for the in vivo situation, which may result in unnecessary follow-up in vivo testing or the loss of promising substances where animal tests are prohibited or not desired. To address this, a project involving regulators, academia and industry was established to develop and validate in vitro human skin-based genotoxicity assays for topically exposed substances, such as cosmetics ingredients. Here, we describe the validation of the 3D reconstructed skin (RS) Comet assay. In this multicenter study, chemicals were applied topically three times to the skin over 48 h. Isolated keratinocytes and fibroblasts were transferred to slides before electrophoresis and the resulting comet formation was recorded as % tail DNA. Before decoding, results of the validation exercise for 32 substances were evaluated by an independent statistician. There was a high predictive capacity of this assay when compared to in vivo outcomes, with a sensitivity of 77 (80)%, a specificity of 88 (97)% and an overall accuracy of 83 (92)%. The numbers reflect the calls of the performing laboratories in the coded phase, whereas those in parenthesis reflect calls according to the agreed evaluation criteria. Intra- and inter-laboratory reproducibility was also very good, with a concordance of 93 and 88%, respectively. These results generated with the Phenion® Full-Thickness skin model demonstrate its suitability for this assay, with reproducibly low background DNA damage and sufficient metabolic capacity to activate pro-mutagens. The validation outcome supports the use of the RS Comet assay to follow up positive results from standard in vitro genotoxicity assays when the expected route of exposure is dermal. Based on the available data, the assay was accepted recently into the OECD test guideline development program.

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