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Inhalation threshold of toxicological concern (TTC) - structural alerts discriminate high from low repeated-dose inhalation toxicity

: Schüürmann, Gerrit; Ebert, Ralf-Uwe; Tluczkiewicz, Inga; Escher, S.E.; Kühne, R.


Environment international 88 (2016), S.123-132
ISSN: 0160-4120
European Commission EC
Optimized strategies for Risk assessment of chemicals based on Intelligent testing
Fraunhofer ITEM ()
structural alert; repeated dose toxicity; inhalation toxicity; threshold of toxicological concern; mechanisms/mode of action; alternative method

The threshold of toxicological concern (TTC) of a compound represents an exposure value below which the associated human health risk is considered negligible. As such, this approach offers assessing the risk of potential toxicants when little or no toxicological information is available. For the inhalation repeated-dose TIC, the goal was to derive structural alerts that discriminate between high- and low-toxic compounds. A further aim was to identify physicochemical parameters related to the inhalation-specific bioavailability of the compounds, and to explore their use as predictors of high vs low toxicity. 296 compounds with subacute, subchronic and chronic inhalation toxicity NOEC (no-observed effect concentration) values were subdivided into three almost equal-sized high-, medium- and low-toxic (HTox, MTox, LTox) potency classes. Whereas the derived 14 HTox and 7 LTox structural alerts yield an only moderate discrimination between these three groups, the high-toxic vs low-toxic mis-classification is very low: LTox-predicted compounds are not HTox to 97.5%, and HTox-predicted compounds not LTox to 88.6%. The probability of a compound being HTox vs LTox is triggered further by physicochemical properties encoding the tendency to evaporate from blood. The new structural alerts may aid in the predictive inhalation toxicity assessment of compounds as well as in designing low-toxicity chemicals, and provide a rationale for the chemistry underlying the toxicological outcome that can also be used for scoping targeted experimental studies.