GARDskin Dose-Response assay for PoD determination of fragrance materials and its application in conducting Quantitative Risk Assessment (QRA)

Presented at SOT 2023

GARDskin Dose-Response assay for PoD determination of fragrance materials and its application in conducting Quantitative Risk Assessment (QRA)

Shashi Donthamsetty1 , Andy Forreryd2, Paul Sterchele1, Xiao Huang1, Robin Gradin2, Henrik Johansson2, Ulrika Mattsson2, Isabelle Lee3, Anne Marie Api3, Gregory Ladics1

1 International Flavors & Fragrances USA ,2 SenzaGen AB Sweden, 3Research Institute for Fragrance Materials USA

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  • The continous readout from the assay is reproductible and the assay predicts LLNA EC3 and human NESIL values with high correlation to reference benchmark data (geometric mean fold-misprediction factors of 3.8 and 2.5 respectively).
  • The assay provides a nice tool for the fragrance industry to predict the NESIL value to be used for conducting the quantitative risk assesment for generating the IFRA standard.


The global fragrance industry applies Quantitative risk assessment (QRA) to develop risk management practices (IFRA Standards) for ingredients that are identified as potential dermal sensitizers. An important step in QRA is determination of a ”No Expected Sensitization Induction Level” (NESIL), which has historically been determined using human data with the support of animal data (e.g., murine local lymph node assay (LLNA). The EC3 value determined in the LLNA is used as the guidance for selection of the dose level in HRIPTs (Human Repteated Insult Patch Test) to confirm a NESIL value. The fragrance industry has adopted new approach methodologies (NAM) to address skin sensitization. Although several NAMs for identifying skin sensitizers have been accepted as Test Guidelines by OECD, these methods have thus far been validated only for hazard identification. Since a NESIL value is a key requirement to evaluate sensitizing potency for conducting QRA evaluations, development of a NAM-based strategy capable of providing potency data in the form of NESIL remains a high priority for the fragrance industry. The in vitro GARDskin assay was recently adopted by the OECD (TG 442E) for the hazard identification of skin sensitizers. Continuous potency predictions are derived using a modified protocol that incorporates dose-response measurements. Linear regression models have further been developed to predict LLNA EC3 and human NESIL values. The aim of the study was to evaluate the precision and reproducibility of the continuous potency predictions from the GARDskin Dose-Response assay. A total of 17 test materials were evaluated, 11 of which were evaluated in three blinded studies separated in time. Preliminary results indicated that the GARDskin Dose-Response model predicted LLNA EC3 values and human NESIL values with geometric mean fold-misprediction factors of 3.8 and 2.5, respectively. For comparative reasons, the LLNA EC3 predicted the human NESIL values with a fold-misprediction factor of 3.7 in the same dataset. Results from the repeated assessment of the test materials were reproducible, with an estimated geometric mean range of fold-changes between replicates of 2.9. Using isocyclocitral (CAS 1335-66-6) as an example, a QRA was conducted to determine its safe use levels in different consumer product types. The results demonstrate that the LLNA EC3 values and the human NESIL values predicted from the GARDskin Dose-Response assay are reproducible between experiments and show good concordance with the published NESIL and EC3 values. Together with the reported performance data, this represents a major step towards the establishment of the assay as a relevant source of information to derive NESIL values for conducting QRA evaluations for fragrance materials to ensure product safety while avoiding the generation of new animal data.