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Toxicol In Vitro. 2001 Aug-Oct;15(4-5):597-600.

Comparison of tissue sources for the skin integrity function test (SIFT).

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  • 1Absorption and In Vitro Toxicology Unit, Syngenta Central Toxicology Laboratory, Alderley Park, Macclesfield, Cheshire SK10 4TJ, UK.


One of the in vitro models involved in an ECVAM-sponsored prevalidation study for acute skin irritation is the skin integrity function test (SIFT), which utilises full-thickness mouse skin. We have evaluated nine different skin types in order to identify the most useful model for assessing skin barrier function using transepidermal water loss (TEWL), electrical resistance (ER) and tritiated water flux (TWF) and sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS) as a standard skin irritant. Tissues were: human skin (epidermis and whole), reconstituted human epidermis (RHE), pig (dermatomed and whole), rabbit (whole), rat (epidermis and whole) and mouse (whole). Barrier function was measured following sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS) exposure and expressed as a damage ratio. Human epidermis gave good responses at high doses of SLS only. RHE had abnormally high permeability to water and therefore had little or no response to SLS. Pig skin gave low TEWL ratios and rabbit skin was a poor responder to SLS. Mouse whole skin performed best in this study, giving consistent high damage ratios to TEWL, ER and TWF following SLS treatment. Rat whole skin also performed well but was generally less responsive. We conclude that mouse skin is the best and most practical in vitro model for the SIFT approach for skin irritation prediction.

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