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Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2011 Apr 15;252(2):73-84. doi: 10.1016/j.taap.2010.10.008. Epub 2010 Oct 16.

EU framework 6 project: predictive toxicology (PredTox)--overview and outcome.

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Hoffmann-La Roche AG, Basel, Switzerland.


In this publication, we report the outcome of the integrated EU Framework 6 PROJECT: Predictive Toxicology (PredTox), including methodological aspects and overall conclusions. Specific details including data analysis and interpretation are reported in separate articles in this issue. The project, partly funded by the EU, was carried out by a consortium of 15 pharmaceutical companies, 2 SMEs, and 3 universities. The effects of 16 test compounds were characterized using conventional toxicological parameters and "omics" technologies. The three major observed toxicities, liver hypertrophy, bile duct necrosis and/or cholestasis, and kidney proximal tubular damage were analyzed in detail. The combined approach of "omics" and conventional toxicology proved a useful tool for mechanistic investigations and the identification of putative biomarkers. In our hands and in combination with histopathological assessment, target organ transcriptomics was the most prolific approach for the generation of mechanistic hypotheses. Proteomics approaches were relatively time-consuming and required careful standardization. NMR-based metabolomics detected metabolite changes accompanying histopathological findings, providing limited additional mechanistic information. Conversely, targeted metabolite profiling with LC/GC-MS was very useful for the investigation of bile duct necrosis/cholestasis. In general, both proteomics and metabolomics were supportive of other findings. Thus, the outcome of this program indicates that "omics" technologies can help toxicologists to make better informed decisions during exploratory toxicological studies. The data support that hypothesis on mode of action and discovery of putative biomarkers are tangible outcomes of integrated "omics" analysis. Qualification of biomarkers remains challenging, in particular in terms of identification, mechanistic anchoring, appropriate specificity, and sensitivity.

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