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Toxicological screening

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      Toxicity testing of new compounds is essential for drug development process. The preclinical toxicity testing on various biological systems reveals the species-, organ- and dose- specific toxic effects of an investigational product. The toxicity of substances can be observed by (a) studying the accidental exposures to a substance (b) in vitro studies using cells/ cell lines (c) in vivo exposure on experimental animals. This review mainly focuses on the various experimental animal models and methods used for toxicity testing of substances. The pre-clinical toxicity testing helps to calculate “No Observed Adverse Effect Level” which is needed to initiate the clinical evaluation of investigational products.

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      Most cited references 40

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      Mutagenicity testing for chemical risk assessment: update of the WHO/IPCS Harmonized Scheme.

      Since the publication of the International Programme on Chemical Safety (IPCS) Harmonized Scheme for Mutagenicity Testing, there have been a number of publications addressing test strategies for mutagenicity. Safety assessments of substances with regard to genotoxicity are generally based on a combination of tests to assess effects on three major end points of genetic damage associated with human disease: gene mutation, clastogenicity and aneuploidy. It is now clear from the results of international collaborative studies and the large databases that are currently available for the assays evaluated that no single assay can detect all genotoxic substances. The World Health Organization therefore decided to update the IPCS Harmonized Scheme for Mutagenicity Testing as part of the IPCS project on the Harmonization of Approaches to the Assessment of Risk from Exposure to Chemicals. The approach presented in this paper focuses on the identification of mutagens and genotoxic carcinogens. Selection of appropriate in vitro and in vivo tests as well as a strategy for germ cell testing are described.
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        Acute oral toxicity.

         E Walum (1998)
        The purposes of acute toxicity testing are to obtain information on the biologic activity of a chemical and gain insight into its mechanism of action. The information on acute systemic toxicity generated by the test is used in hazard identification and risk management in the context of production, handling, and use of chemicals. The LD50 value, defined as the statistically derived dose that, when administered in an acute toxicity test, is expected to cause death in 50% of the treated animals in a given period, is currently the basis for toxicologic classification of chemicals. For a classical LD50 study, laboratory mice and rats are the species typically selected. Often both sexes must be used for regulatory purposes. When oral administration is combined with parenteral, information on the bioavailability of the tested compound is obtained. The result of the extensive discussions on the significance of the LD50 value and the concomitant development of alternative procedures is that authorities today do not usually demand classical LD50 tests involving a large number of animals. The limit test, the fixed-dose procedure, the toxic class method, and the up-and-down methods all represent simplified alternatives using only a few animals. Efforts have also been made to develop in vitro systems; e.g., it has been suggested that acute systemic toxicity can be broken down into a number of biokinetic, cellular, and molecular elements, each of which can be identified and quantified in appropriate models. The various elements may then be used in different combinations to model large numbers of toxic events to predict hazard and classify compounds.
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          Toxicokinetics of the mycotoxin ochratoxin A in F 344 rats after oral administration.

          Ochratoxin A (OTA), a mycotoxin produced by several fungi of Aspergillus and Penicillium species, is a nephrotoxin and a renal carcinogen in rodents. This study was performed to investigate the biotransformation and toxicokinetics of this important food contaminant. Male (n=18) and female (n=18) F344 rats were administered a single dose of OTA (0.5 mg/kg b.w.) in corn oil by gavage. Animals (n=3) were sacrificed 24, 48, 72, 96, 672, and 1,344 hours after OTA administration and concentrations of OTA and OTA-metabolites in urine, feces, blood, liver, and kidney were determined by HPLC with fluorescence detection and/or by LC-MS/MS. Recovery of unchanged OTA in urine amounted to 2.1% of dose in males and 5.2% in females within 96 h. In feces, only 5.5% respectively 1.5% of dose were recovered. The major metabolite detected was OTalpha; low concentrations of OTA-glucosides were also present in urine. The maximal blood levels of OTA were observed between 24 and 48 h after administration and were appromixately 4.6 micromol/l in males and 6.0 micromol/l in females. Elimination of OTA from blood followed first-order kinetics with a half-life of approximately 230 h. In liver of both male and female rats, OTA-concentrations were less than 12 pmol/g tissue, with a maximum at 24 h after administration. In contrast, OTA accumulated in the kidneys, reaching a concentration of 480 pmol/g tissue in males 24 h after OTA-administration. Generally, tissue concentrations in males were higher than in females. OTalpha was not detected in liver and kidney tissue of rats administered OTA, and the OTalpha concentrations in blood were low (10-15 nmol/l). The high concentrations of OTA in kidneys of male rats may, in part, explain the organ- and gender-specific toxicity of OTA.

            Author and article information

            Department of Pharmacology, Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research, Puducherry, India
            Author notes
            Address for correspondence: Parasuraman S., Department of Pharmacology, Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research, Puducherry, India. E-mail: parasuphd@
            J Pharmacol Pharmacother
            Journal of Pharmacology & Pharmacotherapeutics
            Medknow Publications Pvt Ltd (India )
            Apr-Jun 2011
            : 2
            : 2
            : 74-79
            Copyright: © Journal of Pharmacology and Pharmacotherapeutics

            This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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