Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Regul Toxicol Pharmacol. 2012 Jun;63(1):115-23. doi: 10.1016/j.yrtph.2012.03.009. Epub 2012 Mar 16.

Testing strategies for embryo-fetal toxicity of human pharmaceuticals. Animal models vs. in vitro approaches: a workshop report.

Author information

  • 1Medicines Evaluation Board, The Netherlands.


Reproductive toxicity testing is characterized by high animal use. For registration of pharmaceutical compounds, developmental toxicity studies are usually conducted in both rat and rabbits. Efforts have been underway for a long time to design alternatives to animal use. Implementation has lagged, partly because of uncertainties about the applicability domain of the alternatives. The reproductive cycle is complex and not all mechanisms of development can be mimicked in vitro. Therefore, efforts are underway to characterize the available alternative tests with regard to the mechanism of action they include. One alternative test is the mouse embryonic stem cell test (EST), which has been studied since the late 1990s. It is a genuine 3R "alternative" assay as it is essentially animal-free. A meeting was held to review the state-of-the-art of various in vitro models for prediction of developmental toxicity. Although the predictivity of individual assays is improving, a battery of several assays is likely to have even higher predictivity, which is necessary for regulatory acceptance. The workshop concluded that an important first step is a thorough survey of the existing rat and rabbit studies, to fully characterize the frequency of responses and the types of effects seen. At the same time, it is important to continue the optimization of in vitro assays. As more experience accumulates, the optimal conditions, assay structure, and applicability of the alternative assays are expected to emerge.

Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk