Integrated Approaches to Testing and Assessment provides a framework to improve the reliability of read-across for chemical risk assessment of systemic toxicity without animal testing. However, the availability of only a few case studies hinders the use of this concept for regulatory purposes. Thus, we compared the biological similarity of structurally similar chemicals using in vitro testing to demonstrate the validity of this concept for grouping chemicals and to extract key considerations in read-across. We analyzed the hepatotoxicity of naphthalene and three chemicals structurally similar to naphthalene (2,7-naphthalenediol, 1,5-naphthalenediol, and 1-naphthol) for which 90-day repeated dose toxicity data are available. To elucidate and compare their potential mechanisms, we conducted in vitro microarray analysis using rat primary hepatocytes and validated the results using a biomarker and metabolic activation analysis. We observed that 2,7-naphthalenediol, 1,5-naphthalenediol, and 1-naphthol had similar potential mechanisms, namely, induction of oxidative stress by their metabolic activation. Conversely, naphthalene did not show a similar toxicity effect. The existing in vivo data confirmed our grouping of chemicals based on this potential mechanism. Thus, our findings suggest that in vitro toxicogenomics and related biochemical assays are useful for comparing biological similarities and grouping chemicals based on their toxicodynamics for read-across.
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