Assessing the Utility of the Genomic Allergen Rapid Detection (GARDskin) Assay to Detect Dermal Sensitization Potential in UVCBs and Formulated Lubricant Products

Presented at Eurotox 2023

T. Lindberg2, A.Greminger1 , K. Goyak1, O. Larne2, R. Gradin2, and A. Forreryd2
1ExxonMobil Biomedical Sciences Inc., Annandale, NJ; and 2SenzaGen AB, Lund, Sweden

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  • GARD®skin is considered to provide useful information in an overall weight of evidence assessment for difficult to test materials (mixtures, UVCBs) with challenging physical chemical properties.
  • The accuracy for prediction of skin sensitization hazard ranged from 66% for formulated lubricants/greases to 100% for synthetic base oils compared to expected outcomes based on reference data.


Advances in new approach methods and their combinations into defined approaches can provide clarity and confidence in concluding on skin sensitization potential. However, challenges remain in utilizing these approaches for difficult to test materials such as those with challenging physical chemical properties (low water solubility, hydrophobic substances) or complex compositions like Unknown or Variable Composition Complex reaction products or Biological Materials (UVCBs) and formulated mixtures. The previously developed available non-animal test methods for skin sensitization based on key-events of the adverse outcome pathway (AOP) have clearly defined requirements for test material properties that impact feasibility or confound reliance on negative results particularly for difficult to test materials and impedes the application of defined approaches to conclude on skin sensitization hazard. A set of difficult to test materials were evaluated in the recently validated GARDskin assay since it offered advantages such as a broader applicability domain, availability of additional validated test solvents for poorly soluble materials and provides mechanistically relevant information on key events from across the skin sensitization AOP. The aim of the study was to evaluate the accuracy of the GARDskin assay for a set of synthetic base oils (UVCBs), lubricant additives (UVCBs/poorly soluble substances) and fully formulated lubricants/greases (mixtures) as well as to provide additional information to assist in a weight of evidence determination given that several of the test materials had borderline or conflicting data from other key events within the skin sensitization AOP. All test items were adequately solubilized in one of the following solvents, Ethanol (0.1% final), DMSO (0.25% or 0.1% final), or Xylenes (0.1% final). SenzaCells were incubated in triplicate under standard conditions with the test items at a max concentration of 500uM for those with a known molecular weight or 100 ppm (w/v) for those without a known molecular weight. Following cell stimulations, RNA was isolated and endpoint measurements were performed using the GARDskin genomic profile signature. Based on the results of this study, the accuracy for prediction of skin sensitization hazard was 100% for synthetic base oils (n=4), 83% for lubricant additives (n=6), and 66% for formulated lubricants/greases (n=6) compared to expected outcomes based on available reference data. In some cases, the available reference data was borderline or considered to have low confidence due to confounding factors such as irritation, and nonmonotonic dose responses impacting the accuracy determination when compared one to one with either animal or human data. However, the GARDskin assay is considered to provide useful insight into the overall weight of evidence for difficult to test materials with conflicting datasets as it provides an additional profile of bioactivity across the skin sensitization adverse outcome pathway.