Quantitative assessment of sensitizing potency using a dose-response adaptation of GARDskin

Nature Scientific Reports 11, 18904 (2021), https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-98247-7

Robin Gradin, Andy Forreryd, Ulrika Mattson, Anders Jerre, Henrik Johansson


Hundreds of chemicals have been identified as skin sensitizers. These are chemicals that possess the ability to induce hypersensitivity reactions in humans, giving rise to a condition termed allergic contact dermatitis. The capacity to limit hazardous exposure to such chemicals depends upon the ability to accurately identify and characterize their skin sensitizing potency. This has traditionally been accomplished using animal models, but their widespread use offers challenges from both an ethical and a scientific perspective. Comprehensive efforts have been made by the scientific community to develop new approach methodologies (NAMs) capable of replacing in vivo assays, which have successfully yielded several methods that can identify skin sensitizers. However, there is still a lack of new approaches that can effectively measure skin sensitizing potency. We present a novel methodology for quantitative assessment of skin sensitizing potency, which is founded on the already established protocols of the GARDskin assay. This approach analyses dose-response relationships in the GARDskin assay to identify chemical-specific concentrations that are sufficient to induce a positive response in the assay. We here compare results for 22 skin sensitizers analyzed using this method with both human and LLNA potency reference data and show that the results correlate strongly and significantly with both metrics (rLLNA = 0.81, p = 9.1 × 10–5; rHuman = 0.74, p = 1.5 × 10–3).

In conclusion, the results suggest that the proposed GARDskin dose-response methodology provides a novel non-animal approach for quantitative potency assessment, which could represent an important step towards reducing the need for in vivo experiments.


Key words: GARD, GARDskin, GARDskin Dose-Response, in vitro, sensitization, potency, chemical sensitizers, quantitative risk assessment


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