2006 Toxicol In Vitro. 2006 Jun;20(4):499-512. Epub 2005 Oct 21.
Lancaster-Coty, International R&D Center, 98000, Monaco. olivier_doucet@cotyinc.com

Reconstituted human corneal epithelium: a new alternative to the Draize eye test for the assessment of the eye irritation potential of chemicals and cosmetic products

The aim of this study was to evaluate the interest of a new three-dimensional epithelial model cultivated from human corneal cells to replace animal testing in the assessment of eye tolerance. To this end, 65 formulated cosmetic products and 36 chemicals were tested by means of this in vitro model using a simplified toxicokinetic approach. The chemicals were selected from the ECETOC data bank and the EC/HO International validation study list. Very satisfactory results were obtained in terms of concordance with the Draize test data for the formulated cosmetic products. Moreover, the response of the corneal model appeared predictive of human ocular response clinically observed by ophthalmologists. The in vitro scores for the chemicals tested strongly correlated with their respective scores in vivo. For all the compounds tested, the response of the corneal model to irritants was similar regardless of their chemical structure, suggesting a good robustness of the prediction model proposed. We concluded that this new three-dimensional epithelial model, developed from human corneal cells, could be promising for the prediction of eye irritation induced by chemicals and complex formulated products, and that these two types of materials should be tested using a similar protocol. A simple shortening of the exposure period was required for the chemicals assumed to be more aggressively irritant to the epithelial tissues than the cosmetic formulae.