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Toxicol Sci. 2012 Oct;129(2):325-31. doi: 10.1093/toxsci/kfs198. Epub 2012 Jun 15.

Using novel in vitro NociOcular assay based on TRPV1 channel activation for prediction of eye sting potential of baby shampoos.

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  • 1Department of Neurochemistry, The Arrhenius Laboratories for Natural Science, Stockholm University, SE-10691 Stockholm, Sweden.


The transient receptor potential vanilloid type 1 (TRPV1) channel is one of the most well-characterized pain-inducing receptors. The purpose of this study was to predict human eye stinging of 19 baby bath and shampoo formulations by studying TRPV1 activity, as measured by increase in intracellular free Ca(2+). The NociOcular test, a novel recombinant neuronal in vitro model with high expression of functional TRPV1 channels, was used to test formulations containing a variety of surfactants, preservatives, and fragrances. TRPV1-specific Ca(2+) influx was abolished when the TRPV1 channel antagonist capsazepine was applied to the cells prior to shampoo samples. The positive control, an adult shampoo that contains cocamide monoethanolamine (CMEA), a known stinging ingredient, was the most active sample tested in the NociOcular test. The negative control, a marketed baby shampoo, was negative in the NociOcular and human tests. Seven of the formulations induced stinging in the human test, and of those six were positive in the NociOcular test. Twelve formulations were classified as nonstinging in the human test, and of those ten were negative in the NociOcular test. There was no correlation between the clinical stinging results for the baby formulations and the data generated from other in vitro eye irritation assays (cytosensor microphysiometer, neutral red uptake, EpiOcular, transepithelial permeability). Our data support that the TRPV1 channel is a principal mediator of eye-stinging sensation induced by baby bath and shampoo formulations and that the NociOcular test may be a valuable in vitro tool to predict human eye-stinging sensation.

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