Archives of Toxicology

, Volume 86, Issue 8, pp 1273–1295 | Cite as

Non-animal test methods for predicting skin sensitization potentials

  • Annette Mehling
  • Tove Eriksson
  • Tobias Eltze
  • Susanne Kolle
  • Tzutzuy Ramirez
  • Wera Teubner
  • Bennard van Ravenzwaay
  • Robert Landsiedel
Review Article


Contact allergies are complex diseases, and it is estimated that 15–20 % of the general population suffers from contact allergy, with increasing prevalence. Evaluation of the sensitization potential of a substance is usually carried out in animal models. Nowadays, there is much interest in reducing and ultimately replacing current animal tests. Furthermore, as of 2013, the EU has posed a ban on animal testing of cosmetic ingredients that includes skin sensitization. Therefore, predictive and robust in vitro tests are urgently needed. In order to establish alternatives to animal testing, the in vitro tests must mimic the very complex interactions between the sensitizing chemical and the different parts of the immune system. This review article summarizes recent efforts to develop in vitro tests for predicting skin sensitizers. Cell-based assays, in chemico methods and, to a lesser extent, in silico methods are presented together with a discussion of their current status. With considerable progress having been achieved during the last years, the rationale today is that data from different non-animal test methods will have to be combined in order to obtain reliable hazard and potency information on potential skin sensitizers.


Skin sensitization Contact allergy Alternative methods In vitro testing 3Rs principle 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Annette Mehling
    • 1
  • Tove Eriksson
    • 2
  • Tobias Eltze
    • 3
  • Susanne Kolle
    • 3
  • Tzutzuy Ramirez
    • 3
  • Wera Teubner
    • 4
  • Bennard van Ravenzwaay
    • 3
  • Robert Landsiedel
    • 3
  1. 1.BASF Personal Care and Nutrition GmbHDüsseldorfGermany
  2. 2.NackaSweden
  3. 3.BASF SE, Experimental Toxicology and EcologyLudwigshafenGermany
  4. 4.BASF Schweiz AGBaselSwitzerland

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