An in vitro human assay for evaluating immunogenic and sensitization potential of a personal care and cosmetic product

Toxicol Mech Methods. 2021 Mar;31(3):205-211. doi: 10.1080/15376516.2020.1868640. Epub 2021 Jan 13.


With the reduction or elimination of animal testing, manufacturers are left with limited options, as few robust in vitro tests are available and human studies are costly. Recently, concerns have been raised regarding potential adverse health effects associated with use of WEN by Chaz Dean (WCD) cleansing conditioners. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the immunogenic potential of a WCD hair cleansing conditioner by utilizing a novel in vitro human skin explant test. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) and human skin biopsies were obtained from healthy volunteers. Monocyte derived dendritic cells (MoDCs) were generated, primed by 0.01% WCD cleansing conditioner exposure for 24 h, co-cultured with autologous lymphocytes for 4 days, and then cultured with skin biopsies for 3 days. The skin biopsies then underwent histopathological evaluation, and T cell proliferation and IFNγ levels were determined. Overall, this study showed that treatment with 0.01% WCD cleansing conditioner resulted in a negative prediction for in vivo immune response. Further, this analysis shows that the skin explant test is a viable alternative to animal testing for complex mixtures or commercially available products.

Keywords: Immunogenic; cosmetic; in vitro testing; personal care product; sensitization.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cosmetics* / toxicity
  • Humans
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear*
  • Skin


  • Cosmetics