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Alternatives to Laboratory Animals - ATLA

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Biokinetic and Toxicodynamic Modelling and its Role in Toxicological Research and Risk Assessment

Bas J. Blaauboer

Toxicological risk assessment for chemicals is still mainly based on highly standardised protocols for animal experimentation and exposure assessment. However, developments in our knowledge of general physiology, in chemicobiological interactions and in (computer-supported) modelling, have resulted in a tremendous change in our understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying the toxicity of chemicals. This permits the development of biologically based models, in which the biokinetics as well as the toxicodynamics of compounds can be described. In this paper, the possibilities are discussed of developing systems in which the systemic (acute and chronic) toxicities of chemicals can be quantified without the heavy reliance on animal experiments. By integrating data derived from different sources, predictions of toxicity can be made. Key elements in this integrated approach are the evaluation of chemical functionalities representing structural alerts for toxic actions, the construction of biokinetic models on the basis of non-animal data (for example, tissue–blood partition coefficients, in vitro biotransformation parameters), tests or batteries of tests for determining basal cytotoxicity, and more-specific tests for evaluating tissue or organ toxicity. It is concluded that this approach is a useful tool for various steps in toxicological hazard and risk assessment, especially for those forms of toxicity for which validated in vitro and other non-animal tests have already been developed.