Quantifying anti-inflammatory agents' potency by measurement of response to dinitrochlorobenzene challenge

J Dermatol Sci. 1992 Jul;4(1):1-5. doi: 10.1016/0923-1811(92)90048-g.


Classical assays of topical corticosteroid potency based on the induction of vasoconstriction are unsatisfactory for a number of reasons. These include the doubtful relevance of vasoconstriction to immune inflammation, and more importantly, the inability to compare non-steroidal agents with corticosteroids. Here we describe a simple assay in which the inhibitory effect of agents upon delayed type hypersensitivity response to dinitrochlorobenzene can be quantified by measurements of reaction as skinfold thickness with Harpenden callipers. Using this system we have confirmed the greater potency of clobetasol propionate (Dermovate) compared with betamethasone valerate (Betnovate), but the evidence for an inhibitory effect of topical cyclosporin (10% cream) compared with base on this response is less convincing.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Topical
  • Adult
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Betamethasone Valerate / administration & dosage
  • Clobetasol / administration & dosage
  • Clobetasol / analogs & derivatives
  • Cyclosporine / administration & dosage
  • Dinitrochlorobenzene / immunology*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity, Delayed / drug therapy
  • Hypersensitivity, Delayed / pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Skin / drug effects*
  • Skin / immunology
  • Skin / pathology
  • Skinfold Thickness


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Dinitrochlorobenzene
  • Cyclosporine
  • Betamethasone Valerate
  • Clobetasol