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Reconstructed Human Epidermis for Skin Absorption Testing: Results of the German Prevalidation Study

Monika Schäfer-Korting, Udo Bock, Armin Gamer, Annekathrin Haberland, Eleonore Haltner-Ukomadu, Monika Kaca, Hennicke Kamp, Manfred Kietzmann, Hans Christian Korting, Hans-Udo Krächter, Claus-Michael Lehr, Manfred Liebsch, Annette Mehling, Frank Netzlaff, Frank Niedorf, Maria K. Rübbelke, Ulrich Schäfer, Elisabeth Schmidt, Sylvia Schreiber, Klaus-Rudolf Schröder, Horst Spielmann and Alexander Vuia

Exposure to chemicals absorbed by the skin can threaten human health. In order to standardise the predictive testing of percutaneous absorption for regulatory purposes, the OECD adopted guideline 428, which describes methods for assessing absorption by using human and animal skin. In this study, a protocol based on the OECD principles was developed and prevalidated by using reconstructed human epidermis (RHE). The permeation of the OECD standard compounds, caffeine and testosterone, through commercially available RHE models was compared to that of human epidermis and animal skin. In comparison to human epidermis, the permeation of the chemicals was overestimated when using RHE. The following ranking of the permeation coefficients for testosterone was obtained: SkinEthic > EpiDerm, EPISKIN > human epidermis, bovine udder skin, pig skin. The ranking for caffeine was: SkinEthic, EPISKIN > bovine udder skin, EpiDerm, pig skin, human epidermis. The inter-laboratory and intra-laboratory reproducibility was good. Long and variable lag times, which are a matter of concern when using human and pig skin, did not occur with RHE. Due to the successful transfer of the protocol, it is now in the validation process.