Utilizing toxicogenomic data to understand chemical mechanism of action in risk assessment


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Abstract

The predominant role of toxicogenomic data in risk assessment, thus far, has been one of augmentation of more traditional in vitro and in vivo toxicology data. This article focuses on the current available examples of instances where toxicogenomic data has been evaluated in human health risk assessment (e.g., acetochlor and arsenicals) which have been limited to the application of toxicogenomic data to inform mechanism of action. This article reviews the regulatory policy backdrop and highlights important efforts to ultimately achieve regulatory acceptance. A number of research efforts on specific chemicals that were designed for risk assessment purposes have employed mechanism or mode of action hypothesis testing and generating strategies. The strides made by large scale efforts to utilize toxicogenomic data in screening, testing, and risk assessment are also discussed. These efforts include both the refinement of methodologies for performing toxicogenomics studies and analysis of the resultant data sets. The current issues limiting the application of toxicogenomics to define mode or mechanism of action in risk assessment are discussed together with interrelated research needs. In summary, as chemical risk assessment moves away from a single mechanism of action approach toward a toxicity pathway-based paradigm, we envision that toxicogenomic data from multiple technologies (e.g., proteomics, metabolomics, transcriptomics, supportive RT-PCR studies) can be used in conjunction with one another to understand the complexities of multiple, and possibly interacting, pathways affected by chemicals which will impact human health risk assessment.

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