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Regul Toxicol Pharmacol. 2004 Jun;39(3):245-55.

Quantitative relationship between the local lymph node assay and human skin sensitization assays.

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Forschungs-und Beratungsinstitut Gefahrstoffe (FoBiG) GmbH, Werderring 16, D-79098 Freiburg, Germany.


The local lymph node assay (LLNA) is a new test method which allows for the quantitative assessment of sensitizing potency in the mouse. Here, we investigate the quantitative correlation between results from the LLNA and two human sensitization tests--specifically, human repeat insult patch tests (HRIPTs) and human maximization tests (HMTs). Data for 57 substances were evaluated, of which 46 showed skin sensitizing properties in human tests, whereas 11 yielded negative results in humans. For better comparability data from mouse and human tests were transformed to applied doses per skin area, which ranged over four orders of magnitude for the substances considered. Regression analysis for the 46 human sensitizing substances revealed a significant positive correlation between the LLNA and human tests. The correlation was better between LLNA and HRIPT data (n=23; r=0.77) than between LLNA and HMT data (n=38; r=0.65). The observed scattering of data points is related to various uncertainties, in part associated with insufficiencies of data from older HMT studies. Predominantly negative results in the LLNA for another 11 substances which showed no skin sensitizing activity in human maximization tests further corroborate the correspondence between LLNA and human tests. Based on this analysis, the LLNA can be considered a reliable basis for relative potency assessments for skin sensitizers. Proposals are made for the regulatory exploitation of the LLNA: four potency groups can be established, and assignment of substances to these groups according to the outcome of the LLNA can be used to characterize skin sensitizing potency in substance-specific assessments. Moreover, based on these potency groups, a more adequate consideration of sensitizing substances in preparations becomes possible. It is proposed to replace the current single concentration limit for skin sensitizers in preparations, which leads to an all or nothing classification of a preparation as sensitizing to skin ("R43") in the European Union, by differentiated concentration limits derived from the limits for the four potency groups.

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