Skin sensitization potency of methyl methacrylate in the local lymph node assay: comparisons with guinea-pig data and human experience


Dr Catherine J Betts, Bsc, Dphil
Syngenta Central Toxicology Laboratory
Alderley Park
Cheshire SK1 4TJ, UK
Tel: +44 1625 514561
Fax: +44 1625 575815


There is compelling evidence that contact allergens differ substantially (by 4 or 5 orders of magnitude) with respect to their inherent skin-sensitizing potency. Relative potency can now be measured effectively using the mouse local lymph node assay (LLNA) and such data form the basis of risk assessment and risk management strategies. Such determinations also facilitate distinctions being drawn between the prevalence of skin sensitization to a particular contact allergen and inherent potency. The distinction is important because chemicals that are implicated as common causes of contact allergy are not necessarily potent sensitizers. One example is provided by nickel that is undoubtedly a common cause of allergic contact dermatitis, but is a comparatively weak sensitizer in predictive tests. In an attempt to explore other examples of contact allergens where there may exist a discrepancy between prevalence and potency, we describe here analyses conducted with methyl methacrylate (MMA). Results of LLNA studies have been interpreted in the context of historical clinical data on occupational allergic contact dermatitis associated with exposure to MMA.