Test No. 431: In vitro skin corrosion: reconstructed human epidermis (RHE) test method

Published on July 28, 2015

Also available in: French


The test described in this Test Guideline allows the identification of corrosive chemical substances and mixtures and it enables the identification of non-corrosive substances and mixtures when supported by a weight of evidence determination using other existing information. The test protocol may also provide an indication of the distinction between severe and less severe skin corrosives. This Test Guideline does not require the use of live animals or animal tissue for the assessment of skin corrosivity.

The test material (solid or liquid) is applied uniformly and topically to a three-dimensional human skin model, comprising at least a reconstructed epidermis with a functional stratum corneum. Two tissue replicates are used for each treatment (exposure time), and for controls. Corrosive materials are identified by their ability to produce a decrease in cell viability below defined threshold levels at specified exposure periods. Coloured chemicals can also be tested by used of an HPLC procedure. The principle of the human skin model assay is based on the hypothesis that corrosive chemicals are able to penetrate the stratum corneum by diffusion or erosion, and are cytotoxic to the underlying cell layers.