Analysis of chromameter results obtained from corticosteroid-induced skin blanching assay: comparison of visual and chromameter data


In a Guidance document, the American FDA recommends the use of a Minolta chromameter rather than the human eye for the quantitative assessment of the pharmacodynamic blanching response produced by topical application of corticosteroids. The purpose of this study was to compare the appropriateness of the human eye and two models of chromameter for the estimation of skin blanching, in terms of the quality of the data generated by each method. The corticosteroid-induced skin blanching from four different betamethasone 17-valerate cream formulations was compared in a typical human skin blanching trial. The optimized assay methodology routinely practised in our laboratories was utilized. The blanching responses were assessed visually by three trained, independent observers and recorded by two chromameters (Minolta model CR-200 and model CR-300). The topical availability of the four creams was determined using visual scoring and chromameter measurements. All data were manipulated in such a manner as to produce a blanching response versus time profile from which AUBC analysis could be performed. Good correlation was observed between the visual assessments made by three independent observers. In contrast, moderate correlation was determined between visual, CR-200 and CR-300 measurements. Surprisingly, no direct linear relationship between the AUBCs produced by the two chromameters was observed indicating that the quality of the data obtained from the two instruments may not be equal. This investigation also indicated that the use of the chromameter is not completely objective. Visual scoring and chromameter measurement produce data sets that differ in quality. Each procedure needs to be validated and investigators have to be trained for both visual assessment and the operation of the chromameter, particularly with regard to the manipulation of the measuring head of the instrument

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