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Toxicol In Vitro. 2010 Feb;24(1):231-9. doi: 10.1016/j.tiv.2009.08.033. Epub 2009 Sep 6.

Novel cultured porcine corneal irritancy assay with reversibility endpoint.

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MB Research Laboratories, Spinnerstown, PA 18968, USA.


Several alternative assays exist to assess ocular irritancy without the use of live animals. However, these assays cannot address ocular injury reversibility. Reversibility is an issue critical to regulatory authorities and manufactures of commercial products, as ocular irritation caused by misuse or accidental exposure to a product may cause irreversible eye damage. Here we report the development and initial characterization of a novel ocular irritation assay that addresses ocular injury reversibility. This assay, the Porcine Corneal Ocular Reversibility Assay (PorCORA), uses an air-interface porcine corneal culture system to sustain ex vivo porcine corneas as a model system. These corneas are maintained in culture for 21 days to determine if cornea injury, once inflicted, will reverse. Corneal injury reversibility is measured using Sodium Fluorescein (NaFl) stain to detect compromised epithelial barrier function. In this study, we examined the effects of five compounds on the cultured corneas: phosphate-buffered saline (PBS), 100% Ethanol (EtOH), 3% Sodium Dodecyl Sulfate (SDS), 1% Benzalkonium Chloride (BAK), and 10% Sodium Hydroxide (NaOH). Overall, the persistence of corneal effects between historical Draize rabbit eye data and PorCORA indicates a correlation coefficient of 0.98 (for the five compounds tested) and a correlation coefficient of 0.97 with the Draize modified maximal average score (MMAS). Finally, both fluorescence confocal microscopy and histopathology evidence demonstrates that the PorCORA and NaFl measurements are indicative of actual cellular and tissue damage. PorCORA shows promise as a potential non-animal replacement assay capable of predicting ocular damage reversibility.

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