The rabbit corneal epithelium model (RCE model) was developed as a three-dimensional in vitro
model to replace animal testing for the assessment of eye tolerance. In the model, a stratified culture of rabbit corneal epithelial cells is grown at the air-liquid interface on a collagen gel acting as a parabasal membrane. Histological cross-sections show that the structure of RCE model closely parallels that of the rabbit corneal epithelium. The lauryl derivatives, such as sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), polyoxyethylene (9) lauryl ether (PLE), sodium polyoxyethylene (2) lauryl ether sulfate (SPLE), mono glyceryl laurate (MGL), and sodium N-lauroyl-L-glutaminate (SLG), and polyoxyethylene alkyl derivatives, polyoxyethylene (9) lauryl ether (PLE), polyoxyethylene (10) cetyl ether (PCE), polyoxyethylene (10) stearyl ether (PSE), polyoxyethylene (10) oleyl ether (POE), and polyoxyethylene (10) behenyl ether (PBE), were evaluated for in vitro
eye irritation potential using the RCE model by the measurement of viability with MTT assay. SLS, PLE, SPLE, MGL, and SLG inhibited 90.3%, 69.8%, 79.7%, 45.8%, and 32.7% of the viability at a concentration of 0.5%. The IC50 (50% inhibitory concentration) values of SLS, PLE, SPLE, MGL, and SLG were 0.086%, 0.205%, 0.133%, 0.627%, and 0.934%, respectively. These results indicated that a functional group at the end of lauryl chain is an important factor for inhibiting the viability using the RCE model. The polyoxyethylene alkyl derivatives had distinctly different the viability potencies according to their alkyl patterns. PLE inhibited the viability greater than other polyoxyethylene alkyl derivatives. Therefore, the lauryl chain of PLE is an important factor for inhibiting the viability on the RCE model.
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