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Toxicol Sci. 2003 Nov;76(1):3-20. Epub 2003 Jul 25.

Heterogeneity of toxicant response: sources of human variability.

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  • 1Integrated Toxicology Program, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina 27710, USA.


While risk assessment models attempt to predict human risk to toxicant exposure, in many cases these models cannot account for the wide variety of human responses. This review addresses several primary sources of heterogeneity that may affect individual responses to drug or toxicant exposure. Consideration was given to genetic polymorphisms, age-related factors during development and senescence, gender differences associated with hormonal function, and preexisting diseases influenced by toxicant exposure. These selected examples demonstrate the need for additional steps in risk assessment that are needed to more accurately predict human responses to toxicants and drugs.

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