Repeated Exposure to Benzalkonium Chloride in the Ex Vivo Eye Irritation Test (EVEIT): Observation of Isolated Corneal Damage and Healing
Markus Frentz, Miriam Goss, Martin Reim and Norbert F. Schrage
The prediction of side-effects is a key issue in the REACH initiative on chemicals, in the production of cosmetics and in the preclinical testing of drugs. A new ex vivo test for repeated substance application is presented, that is able to identify corrosive and irritant effects on the eye by using crucial endpoints, such as cellular and morpholo gical damage, and healing characteristics. The test is intended to replace the Draize eye test and to improve the preclinical testing of drugs and chemicals that are likely to come into direct contact with the cornea. The Ex Vivo Eye Irritation Test (EVEIT) is a self-healing system, involving living corneas obtained from abattoir rabbit eyes. The corneas are cultured in a similar way to the method used during the transplantation of corneal grafts. The corneas are exposed to multiple small, mechanical abrasions, and then test substances are repeatedly dropped onto the centres of the corneas. The test substances applied in this study were citrate-buffered hyaluronate eye drops and an artificial tear replacement, with increasing concentrations of up to 0.1% benzalkonium chloride. A dose-dependent inhibition of recovery and impairment of the lactate production mechanism in the cornea was observed with benzalkonium chloride treatment.