Comparative Cytotoxicity Test with Human Keratinocytes, HaCaT Cells, and Skin Fibroblasts to Investigate Skin-Irritating Substances

  • A. Hoh
  • K. Maier


Irritation of the skin involves reactions of the cells that form the human dermis and epidermis. Particularly the keratinocytes, which are affected first by toxic substances, are now known to be involved in a variety of inflammatory and immune responses of the skin. For this reason, keratinocytes should be the most appropriate target cells for assessing sensitivity of the skin to toxicants. In this study normal human keratinocytes, the spontaneously transformed keratinocyte cell line HaCaT, and 3T3 mouse fibroblasts were compared to assess their potential as models for skin irritancy testing. Twelve chemicals with a wide range of skin-irritating potential were tested using the neutral red uptake and the ken acid blue staining. In most cases the normal human keratinocytes showed less sensitivity than the HaCaT cell line or the 3T3 cells. Nevertheless, all three cell types correlate in their ranking with in vivo Draize data. These results indicate that the choice of cell type is not crucial for assessment of the primary effect of toxic substances.


HaCaT Cell Normal Human Keratinocytes Decyl Sulfate Comparative Cytotoxicity Draize Test 
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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1993

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  • A. Hoh
  • K. Maier

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