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Prediction of molecular mechanism of skin irritation after acute exposure to sodium lauryl sulfate.

Gunasekar PG; Rogers JV; Kabbur MB; Brinkley WW; Garrett CM; McDougal JN
Toxicologist 2002 Mar; 66(1-S):162
Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) is an anionic surfactant, causing irritant contact dermatitis. Skin irritation by this detergent is not well understood due to the complex molecular interactions. Knowledge of molecular mechanisms and the relationship between duration of surfactant exposures on the skin and the degree of irritation is limited. Here we measured an early inflammatory mediators, interleukin 1-alpha (IL-1 ), inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS), nitric oxide (NO) and ROS in response to two different concentrations of SLS (1% and 10%)-induced irritation.The dorsal thoracic aspects of male F-344 rats were exposed to SLS for 1 hr using Hill Top Chambers. At 0, 1, 2, 4 and 6 hours after exposure, skin samples were processed for analysis. Western blot of 1% SLS exposed skin samples showed an increase in IL-1 protein levels from 13-37% over controls at various time points, while IL-1 in 10% SLS samples only increased by 10%. This protein induction reached a maximum at 2 hr. The change in iNOS levels in 1% SLS skin over the respective controls was comparable to change in 10% SLS exposed skin samples but occurred at 4 hours. However, NO levels showed a different response. Like NOS protein level in 1% SLS exposed samples, NO level increases peaked at 4 hr after beginning of exposure. In 10% exposed samples NO level peaked at 1 hr after exposure and gradually decreased. There was a significant generation of ROS seen in 1% SLS exposed skin, which reflects the damaging effects on the skin. The reduced level of thiol further strengthens the potential association of oxidative stress and skin damage during SLS exposures. These results suggest that the change in the levels of skin's molecular and biological response to SLS exposure explained the biochemical mechanisms associated with SLS-induced irritation.
Dermatitis; Skin-tests; Skin-irritants; Surfactants; Animal-studies; Laboratory-animals; Cleaning-compounds; Detergents
Publication Date
Document Type
Funding Amount
Funding Type
Fiscal Year
Identifying No.
Priority Area
Disease and Injury: Allergic and Irritant Dermatitis
Source Name
The Toxicologist. Society of Toxicology 41st Annual Meeting and ToxExpo, March 17-21, 2002, Nashville, Tennessee
Performing Organization
Wright State University, Dayton, Ohio
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division