Agents and Actions

, Volume 9, Issue 1, pp 124–132 | Cite as

Irritant actions of unphysiological pH values. A controlled procedure to test for topical irritancy

  • K. Bucher
  • K. E. Bucher
  • D. Walz
Other Topics


The abdominal skin of juvenile white mice was used. Topical application was accomplished by intracutaneou injection. The solutions tested were thoroughly standardized. By using a special buffer system, a mixture of histidine glutamate and lysine glutamate, each pH value could be tested with the same buffer capacity. The pH values varied from pH 3 to pH 11, the solutions being always isoosmolalic with plasma.

Two criteria were used to judge the irritancy: (a) the edematous reaction for the first 6 h and (b) the macroscopic aspect after 24 h. A very special procedure enabled us to obtain objective numerical values for criterion (a).

The results disclose that irritation becomes manifest at pH 4 and pH 10, becomes clear-cut with pH 3 and even more so with pH 11, and depends strongly on the buffer capacity employed.

With two substances — amidosulfuric acid and (tri) sodium phosphate — it was exemplified how the procedure could be used to routinely screen for topical irritancy in an informative, inexpensive and decent manner.


Sodium Phosphate Glutamate Lysine Histidine 
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Copyright information

© Birkhäuser-Verlag 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • K. Bucher
    • 1
  • K. E. Bucher
    • 1
  • D. Walz
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Pharmacology (701) of the Biocenter of the University of 4056BaselSwitzerland

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