Skip Navigation
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Dot gov

The .gov means it’s official.
Federal government websites often end in .gov or .mil. Before sharing sensitive information, make sure you’re on a federal government site.


The site is secure.
The https:// ensures that you are connecting to the official website and that any information you provide is encrypted and transmitted securely.

Your Environment. Your Health.

Publication Detail

Title: Modeling the antioxidant properties of the eye reduces the false-positive rate of a nonanimal eye irritation test (OptiSafe).

Authors: Lebrun, Stewart J; Chavez, Sara; Chan, Roxanne; Nguyen, Linda; Jester, James V

Published In Toxicol In Vitro, (2021 Oct)

Abstract: We recently identified a group of chemicals that are misclassified by most, if not all, in vitro alternative ocular irritation tests, suggesting that nonanimal tests may not fully model the ocular environment in which these chemicals interact. To address this, we evaluated the composition of tears, the first defense against foreign substances, and identified the presence of antioxidants that could detoxify reactive chemicals that otherwise may be falsely identified as irritants in alternative irritation tests. In this study, we evaluated the effects of tear antioxidants on the ocular irritation scoring of commonly overclassified chemicals (false positives) using the OptiSafe™ ocular irritation test. Six tear-related antioxidants were individually added to the OptiSafe formulation, and the effects on test outcome were determined. Ascorbic acid, the most abundant water-soluble antioxidant in tears, specifically reduced the OptiSafe false-positive rate. Titration curves showed that this reduction occurs at in vivo concentrations and is specific to chemicals identified either as producing reactive oxygen species or as crosslinkers. Importantly, the addition of tear antioxidants did not impact the detection of true negatives, true positives, or other false positives unassociated with reactive oxygen species or crosslinking. These results suggest that the addition of tear antioxidants to in vitro alternative test systems may substantially reduce the false-positive rate and improve ocular irritant detection.

PubMed ID: 34216722 Exiting the NIEHS site

MeSH Terms: Animal Testing Alternatives; Antioxidants/pharmacology*; Ascorbic Acid/pharmacology*; Eye; Irritants/classification*; Irritants/toxicity*; Models, Biological; Oxidation-Reduction; Tears/chemistry; Toxicity Tests/methods*

to Top