Non-Animal Strategies for Toxicity Assessment of Nanoscale Materials: Role of Adverse Outcome Pathways in the Selection of Endpoints.


Halappanavar S(1)(2), Nymark P(3), Krug HF(4), Clift MJD(5), Rothen-Rutishauser B(6), Vogel U(7)(8).
Author information:
(1)Environmental Health Science and Research Bureau, Health Canada, Ottawa, K1A0K9, Canada.
(2)Department of Biology, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, K1N6N5, Canada.
(3)Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institute, Nobels väg 13, Stockholm, 17177, Sweden.
(4)NanoCASE GmbH, St. Gallerstr. 58, Engelburg, 9032, Switzerland.
(5)Institute of Life Science, Swansea University Medical School, Swansea University, Singleton Park, Swansea, Wales, SA2 8PP, UK.
(6)Adolphe Merkle Institute, University of Fribourg, Chemin des Verdiers 4, Fribourg, 1700, Switzerland.
(7)National Research Centre for the Working Environment, Lersø Parkallé 105, Copenhagen, DK-2100, Denmark.
(8)DTU Health Tech, Technical University of Denmark, Lyngby, DK-2800 Kgs., Denmark.


Faster, cheaper, sensitive, and mechanisms-based animal alternatives are needed to address the safety assessment needs of the growing number of nanomaterials (NM) and their sophisticated property variants. Specifically, strategies that help identify and prioritize alternative schemes involving individual test models, toxicity endpoints, and assays for the assessment of adverse outcomes, as well as strategies that enable validation and refinement of these schemes for the regulatory acceptance are needed. In this review, two strategies 1) the current nanotoxicology literature review and 2) the adverse outcome pathways (AOPs) framework, a systematic process that allows the assembly of available mechanistic information concerning a toxicological response in a simple modular format, are presented. The review highlights 1) the most frequently assessed and reported ad hoc in vivo and in vitro toxicity measurements in the literature, 2) various AOPs of relevance to inhalation toxicity of NM that are presently under development, and 3) their applicability in identifying key events of toxicity for targeted in vitro assay development. Finally, using an existing AOP for lung fibrosis, the specific combinations of cell types, exposure and test systems, and assays that are experimentally supported and thus, can be used for assessing NM-induced lung fibrosis, are proposed.