Estimating Toxicity-related Biological Pathway Altering Doses for High-throughput Chemical Risk Assessment

We describe a framework for estimating the human dose at which a chemical significantly alters a biological pathway in vivo, making use of in vitro assay data and an in vitro-derived pharmacokinetic model, coupled with estimates of population variability and uncertainty. The quantity we calculate, the biological pathway altering dose (BPAD), is analogous to current risk assessment metrics in that it combines dose-response data with analysis of uncertainty and population variability to arrive at conservative exposure limits. The analogy is closest when perturbation of a pathway is a key event in the mode of action (MOA) leading to a specified adverse outcome. Because BPADs are derived from relatively inexpensive, high-throughput screening (HTS) in vitro data, this approach can be applied to high-throughput risk assessments (HTRA) for thousands of data-poor environmental chemicals. We envisage the first step of HTRA to be an assessment of in vitro concentration-response relationships across biologically important pathways to derive biological pathway altering concentrations (BPAC). Pharmacokinetic (PK) modeling is then used to estimate the in vivo doses required to achieve the BPACs in the blood at steady state. Uncertainty and variability are incorporated in both the BPAC and the PK parameters and then combined to yield a probability distribution for the dose required to perturb the critical pathway. We finally define the BPADL as the lower confidence bound of this pathway-altering dose. This perspective outlines a framework for using HTRA to estimate BPAD values; provides examples of the use of this approach, including a comparison of BPAD values with published dose-response data from in vivo studies; and discusses challenges and alternative formulations.



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