toxicokinetics

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ESNATS Conference — The Use of Human Embryonic Stem Cells for Novel Toxicity Testing Approaches

Costanza Rovida, Manon Vivier, Bernward Garthoff and Jürgen Hescheler

The main achievements and results of the ESNATS project (Embryonic Stem Cell-based Novel Alternative Testing Strategies) were presented at the final project conference that was held on 15 September 2013, the day before the traditional EUSAAT (European Society for Alternatives to Animal Testing) Congress in Linz, Austria. The ESNATS project was an FP7 European Integrated Project, running from 2008 to 2013, the aim of which was to develop a novel toxicity testing platform based on embryonic stem cells (ESCs), and in particular, human ESC (hESCs), to accelerate drug development, reduce related R&D costs, and propose a powerful alternative to animal tests in the spirit of the Three Rs principles. Altogether, ESNATS offered the first proof of concept that hESCs can be used to create robust, reproducible and ready-to use test assays for predicting human toxicity. In the end, essentially five test systems were developed to an adequate level for entering possible pre-validation procedures. These methods are based on hESCs, and can be combined to study the possible effects, on the human embryo, of exposure to a chemical during the early stages of development. In addition to the presentations by the main project partners, external speakers were invited to give lectures on relevant topics, both in the field of neurotoxicity and, more generally, on the applicability of hESCs in the development of advanced in vitro tests.

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The Bioavailability of Substances Administered to Chick Embryos: The Maximum Effective Route of Administration

Drahomír Veselý, Doubravka Veselá and Richard Jelínek

Toxicokinetic studies are of key importance in both the design and the interpretation of developmental toxicity studies. The aim of this study was to determine concentrations of test substances within the chick embryo following the administration schedule recommended in the chick embryotoxicity screening test (CHEST). The concentration–time relationships were investigated by using four labelled substances with various physicochemical and embryotoxic properties ([14C] sodium acetate, [14C] palmitic acid, [3H] cortisol and [3H] cytosine arabinoside). These labelled chemicals were mixed with cold substances and singly administered at two dose levels to chick embryos on days 2, 3 and 4 of incubation. Extrachorial and subgerminal routes were used on day 2, and extrachorial and intra-amniotic applications were chosen on days 3 and 4. The concentration of labelled chemical present within the embryo was assessed at predetermined intervals by scintillation fluorimetry (from 6 minutes to 96 hours after administration), and used for estimating the concentration curves. Regardless of the substance, dose and application route, the concentration curves exhibited a characteristic pattern, reaching their peaks within the first 6 hours, and dropping down to near zero 48–96 hours after administration. The decrease followed the first order law, demonstrating that, within the CHEST system, the avian embryo does not act as a closed system. With regard to the total amount of substance entering the embryo, extrachorial administration appeared to be superior to subgerminal administration on day 2. Intra-amniotic administration was superior to extrachorial administration on days 3 and 4. These differences were most pronounced after administration of lipid-soluble palmitic acid. The concentrations within embryonic tissues were directly dosedependent. After consideration of all these findings, we concluded that the CHEST system probably has closer similarity to the toxicokinetics of exposure of mammalian embryos (i.e. reaching a peak and then a gradual decline over time) than any other in vitro test of developmental toxicity, where the chemical is simply added to culture media. Several practical recommendations for improving the CHEST system were derived.
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A Quantitative Structure-toxicokinetic Relationship Model for Highly Metabolised Chemicals

Patrick Poulin and Kannan Krishnan

The aim of the present study was to develop a quantitative structure-toxicokinetic relationship (QSTkR) model for highly metabolised chemicals (HMCs). The proposed QSTkR model is essentially a physiologically based toxicokinetic (PBTK) model, in which the blood:air and tissue:blood partition coefficients (PCs) are predicted from the molecular structure of chemicals, and the liver blood flow rate (Ql) is used to describe hepatic clearance. Molecular structure-based prediction of the blood:air and tissue:blood PCs was performed from the n-octanol:water and water:air PCs of chemicals obtained with the conventional fragment constant methods. The validity of incorporating Ql instead of metabolic rate constants, as the hepatic clearance factor, in PBTK models for HMCs (extraction ratio > 0.7) was verified by comparing the simulations of venous blood concentration (Cv) profiles obtained with both the QSTkR and PBTK model approaches for 1,1-dichloroethylene, trichloroethylene and furan in the rat. Following the validation of this alternative approach for describing hepatic clearance of HMCs, a QSTkR model for dichloromethane was constructed. This model used molecular structure information as the sole input, and provided simulations of Cv for human exposure to low concentrations of dichloromethane. The QSTkR model simulations were similar to those obtained with the previously validated, conventional human PBTK model with experimentally determined PCs and metabolic rate constants (Vmax, Km and Kf) for dichloromethane. The present methodology is the first validated example of a mechanistically based prediction of the inhalation toxicokinetics of HMCs made solely from information on molecular structure.
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MEIC Evaluation of Acute Systemic Toxicity

Björn Ekwall, Cecilia Clemedson, Balcarras Crafoord

The Multicenter Evaluation of In Vitro Cytotoxicity (MEIC) programme was set up to evaluate the relevance for acute human systemic toxicity of in vitro cytotoxicity tests. At the end of the programme in the summer of 1996, 29 laboratories had tested all 50 reference chemicals in 61 cytotoxicity assays. As a necessary prerequisite to the forthcoming evaluation papers of this series, this paper presents the animal and human toxicity data of the programme. This database contains tabulated handbook data for the 50 chemicals, on: a) oral rat and mouse LD50 values; b) acute oral lethal doses in humans; c) clinically measured acute lethal serum concentrations in humans; d) acute lethal blood concentrations in humans measured postmortem; e) peaks from curves of an approximate 50% lethal blood/serum concentration over time after ingestion (LC50 curves), derived from a compilation of human acute poisoning case reports; f) human kinetics of single doses, including absorption, peak time, distribution/elimination curve, plasma half-life, distribution volume, distribution to organs (notably brain), and blood protein binding; and g) qualitative human acute toxicity data, including lethal symptoms, main causes of death, average time to death, target organs, presence of histopathological injury in target organs, presence of toxic metabolites, and known or hypothetical mechanisms for the lethal toxicity. The rationales for selection of the human toxicity data are also noted. The methods used to compile the in vivo toxicity data are described, including a presentation of a new method of constructing LC50 curves. Finally, the merits and shortcomings of the various human toxicity data for evaluation purposes are discussed.
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ECVAM’s Response to the Changing Political Environment for Alternatives: Consequences of the European Union Chemicals and Cosmetics Policies

Thomas Hartung, Susanne Bremer, Silvia Casati, Sandra Coecke, Raffaella Corvi, Salvador Fortaner, Laura Gribaldo, Marlies Halder, Annett Janusch Roi, Pilar Prieto, Enrico Sabbioni, Andrew Worth and Valerie Zuang

The European Centre for the Validation of Alternative Methods (ECVAM) has restructured its services by directly targeting the animal tests that need to be replaced. In view of the short time-lines for making available and implementing validated methods, ECVAM is offering to steer the process by bringing together the inputs of stakeholders and encouraging the early involvement of regulators. In essence, steering groups formed by ECVAM senior staff, and complemented with external experts, will carry out the project management and will coordinate the various inputs.
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Integrated Decision-tree Testing Strategies for Acute Systemic Toxicity and Toxicokinetics with Respect to the Requirements of the EU REACH Legislation

Robert Combes, Christina Grindon, Mark T.D. Cronin, David W. Roberts and John F. Garrod

Liverpool John Moores University and FRAME conducted a joint research project, sponsored by Defra, on the status of alternatives to animal testing with regard to the European Union REACH (Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals) system for the safety testing and risk assessment of chemicals. The project covered all the main toxicity endpoints associated with REACH. This paper focuses on the use of alternative (non-animal) methods (both in vitro and in silico) for acute systemic toxicity and toxicokinetic testing. The paper reviews in vitro tests based on basal cytotoxicity and target organ toxicity, along with QSAR models and expert systems available for this endpoint. The use of PBPK modelling for the prediction of ADME properties is also discussed. These tests are then incorporated into a decision- tree style, integrated testing strategy, which also includes the use of refined in vivo acute toxicity tests, as a last resort. The implementation of the strategy is intended to minimise the use of animals in the testing of acute systemic toxicity and toxicokinetics, whilst satisfying the scientific and logistical demands of the EU REACH legislation.
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Integrated Decision-tree Testing Strategies for Acute Systemic Toxicity and Toxicokinetics with Respect to the Requirements of the EU REACH Legislation

Robert Combes, Christina Grindon, Mark T.D. Cronin, David W. Roberts and John F. Garrod

Liverpool John Moores University and FRAME conducted a joint research project, sponsored by Defra, on the status of alternatives to animal testing with regard to the European Union REACH (Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals) system for the safety testing and risk assessment of chemicals. The project covered all the main toxicity endpoints associated with REACH. This paper focuses on the use of alternative (non-animal) methods (both in vitro and in silico) for acute systemic toxicity and toxicokinetic testing. The paper reviews in vitro tests based on basal cytotoxicity and target organ toxicity, along with QSAR models and expert systems available for this endpoint. The use of PBPK modelling for the prediction of ADME properties is also discussed. These tests are then incorporated into a decision- tree style, integrated testing strategy, which also includes the use of refined in vivo acute toxicity tests, as a last resort. The implementation of the strategy is intended to minimise the use of animals in the testing of acute systemic toxicity and toxicokinetics, whilst satisfying the scientific and logistical demands of the EU REACH legislation.
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