Non-animal sensitization testing: state-of-the-art

R.J. Vandebriel*, H. van Loveren

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


    Predictive tests to identify the sensitizing properties of chemicals are carried out using animals. In the European Union timelines for phasing out many standard animal tests were established for cosmetics. Following this policy, the new European Chemicals Legislation (REACH) favors alternative methods, if validated and appropriate. In this review the authors aim to provide a state-of-the art overview of alternative methods (in silico, in chemico, and in vitro) to identify contact and respiratory sensitizing capacity and in some occasions give a measure of potency. The past few years have seen major advances in QSAR (quantitative structure-activity relationship) models where especially mechanism-based models have great potential, peptide reactivity assays where multiple parameters can be measured simultaneously, providing a more complete reactivity profile, and cell-based assays. Several cell-based assays are in development, not only using different cell types, but also several specifically developed assays such as three-dimenionally (3D)-reconstituted skin models, an antioxidant response reporter assay, determination of signaling pathways, and gene profiling. Some of these assays show relatively high sensitivity and specificity for a large number of sensitizers and should enter validation (or are indeed entering this process). Integrating multiple assays in a decision tree or integrated testing system is a next step, but has yet to be developed. Adequate risk assessment, however, is likely to require significantly more time and efforts.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)389-404
    JournalCritical Reviews in Toxicology
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2010

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