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Bovine Corneal Opacity & Permeability Assay (BCOP)

The BCOP (Bovine Corneal Opacity and Permeability) assay is an in vitro eye irritation test method developed by Gautheron et al. (1992), which uses living bovine corneal tissue, obtained as a by-product from abattoirs, to evaluate the potential ocular irritancy of a test article. Types of injury caused by exposure to the test article are quantitatively measured by changes in opacity and permeability to fluorescein.

The BCOP assay allows for the investigation of the mechanism of the damage caused. Corneal opacity can be caused by protein denaturation or the induction of stromal swelling, while corneal permeability reflects a loss in corneal barrier function and cell-to-cell membrane junctions of the corneal epithelium.

An additional histological endpoint can be added to assess the corneal swelling, hydration, or morphological alterations in the cornea. This assessment evaluates the type of observed lesions and the depth of injury into the corneas. For specific assay procedures, please see Step-by-Step or view our recent video.

Assay Design: Quick Facts

Assay Model: organotypic, bovine corneas (obtained as a by-product from abattoirs)

1. Opacity (determined by measuring the amount of light transmitted through the cornea).
2. Permeability (determined by measuring the amount of fluorescein dye that penetrates through the cornea).

Each assay includes a positive and negative control. For more information about testing your materials using this assay, please see Applications. Specialized protocols may be prepared as requested through consultation with an IIVS Study Director.

Learn about our tiered testing approach for assessing eye irritation potential of EPA pesticide products.

BCOP Bovine Eye
Depth of Injury Model in a Rabbit Cornea (Maurer and Jester, 2002)