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Development of an In Vitro Test Battery for the Estimation of Acute Human Systemic Toxicity: An Outline of the EDIT Project


Cecilia Clemedson, Marika Nordin-Andersson, Henning F. Bjerregaard, Jørgen Clausen, Anna Forsby, Helena Gustafsson, Ulrika Hansson, Boris Isomaa, Carsten Jørgensen, Ada Kolman, Natalia Kotova, Gunter Krause, Udo Kristen, Kalle Kurppa, Lennart Romert and Ellen Scheers

The aim of the Evaluation-guided Development of New In Vitro Test Batteries (EDIT) multicentre programme is to establish and validate in vitro tests relevant to toxicokinetics and for organ-specific toxicity, to be incorporated into optimal test batteries for the estimation of human acute systemic toxicity. The scientific basis of EDIT is the good prediction of human acute toxicity obtained with three human cell line tests (R2 = 0.77), in the Multicentre Evaluation of In Vitro Cytotoxicity (MEIC) programme. However, the results from the MEIC study indicated that at least two other types of in vitro test ought to be added to the existing test battery to improve the prediction of human acute systemic toxicity — to determine key kinetic events (such as biotransformation and passage through biological barriers), and to predict crucial organ-specific mechanisms not covered by the tests in the MEIC battery. The EDIT programme will be a case-by-case project, but the establishment and validation of new tests will be carried through by a common, step-wise procedure. The Scientific Committee of the EDIT programme defines the need for a specific set of toxicity or toxicokinetic data. Laboratories are then invited to perform the defined tests in order to provide the "missing" data for the EDIT reference chemicals. The results obtained will be evaluated against the MEMO (the MEIC Monograph programme) database, i.e. against human acute systemic lethal and toxicity data. The aim of the round-table discussions at the 19th Scandinavian Society for Cell Toxicology (SSCT) workshop, held in Ringsted, Denmark on 6.9 September 2001, was to identify which tests are the most important for inclusion in the MEIC battery, i.e. which types of tests the EDIT programme should focus on. It was proposed that it is important to include in vitro methods for various kinetic events, such as biotransformation, absorption in the gut, passage across the blood.brain barrier, distribution volumes, protein binding, and renal clearance/accumulation. Models for target organ toxicity were also discussed. Because several of the outlier chemicals (paracetamol, digoxin, malathion, nicotine, paraquat, atropine and potassium cyanide) in the MEIC in vivo–in vitro evaluation have a neurotoxic potential, it was proposed that the development within the EDIT target organ programme should initially be focused on the nervous system.