In-house Validation of the EpiOcularô Eye Irritation Test and its Combination with the Bovine Corneal Opacity and Permeability Test for the Assessment of Ocular Irritation
Susanne N. Kolle, Helena Kandárová, Britta Wareing, Bennard van Ravenzwaay, and Robert Landsiedel
In 2009, the Bovine Corneal Opacity and Permeability (BCOP) test was accepted by the regulatory bodies for the identification of corrosive and severe ocular irritants (Global Harmonised System [GHS] Category 1). However, no in vitro test is currently accepted for the differentiation of ocular irritants (GHS Category 2) and non-irritants (GHS No Category). Human reconstructed tissue models have been suggested for incorporation into a tiered testing strategy to ultimately replace the Draize rabbit eye irritation test (OECD TG 405). The purpose of this study was to evaluate whether the EpiOcular™ reconstructed cornealike tissue model and the COLIPA pre-validated EpiOcular Eye Irritation Test (EpiOcular-EIT) could be used as suitable components of this testing strategy. The in-house validation of the EpiOcular-EIT was performed by using 60 test substances, including a broad variety of chemicals and formulations for which in vivo data (from the Draize rabbit eye irritation test) were available. The test substances fell into the following categories: 18 severe irritants/corrosives (Category 1), 21 irritants (Category 2), and 21 non-irritants (No Category). Test substances that decreased tissue viability to ≤ 60% (compared to the negative control tissue) were considered to be eye irritants (Category 1/2). Test substances resulting in tissue viability of > 60% were considered to be non-irritants (No Category). For the assessed dataset and the classification cut-off of 60% viability, the EpiOcular-EIT provided 98% and 84% sensitivity, 64% and 90% specificity, and 85% and 86% overall accuracy for the literature reference and BASF proprietary substances, respectively. Applying a 50% tissue viability cut-off to distinguish between irritants and non-irritants resulted in 93% and 82% sensitivity, 68% and 100% specificity, and 84% and 88% accuracy for the literature reference and BASF proprietary substances, respectively. Further, in the EpiOcular-EIT (60% cut-off), 100% of severely irritating substances under-predicted by the BCOP assay were classified as Category 1/2. The results obtained in this study, based on 60 test substances, indicate that the EpiOcular-EIT and the BCOP assay can be combined in a testing strategy to identify strong/severe eye irritants (Category 1), moderate and mild eye irritants (Category 2), and non-irritants (No Category) in routine testing. In particular, when the bottom-up strategy with the 60% viability cut-off was employed, none of the severely irritating substances (Category 1) were under-predicted to be non-irritant. Sensitivity for Category 1/2 substances was 100% for literature reference substances and 89% for BASF SE proprietary substances.