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Toxicol Lett. 1995 Sep;79(1-3):229-37.

Quantitative structure-activity relationships and ecological risk assessment: an overview of predictive aquatic toxicology research.

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U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory, Mid-Continent Ecology Division, Duluth, MN 55804, USA.


In the field of aquatic toxicology, quantitative structure-activity relationships (QSARs) have developed as scientifically credible tools for predicting the toxicity of chemicals when little or no empirical data are available. A fundamental understanding of toxicological principles has been considered an important component to the acceptance and application of QSAR approaches as biologically relevant in ecological risk assessments. As a consequence, there has been an evolution of QSAR development and application from that of a chemical-class perspective to one that is more consistent with assumptions regarding modes of toxic action. In this review, techniques to assess modes of toxic action from chemical structure are discussed, with consideration that toxicodynamic knowledge bases must be clearly defined with regard to exposure regimes, biological models/endpoints and compounds that adequately span the diversity of chemicals anticipated for future applications. With such knowledge bases, classification systems, including rule-based expert systems, have been established for use in predictive aquatic toxicology applications. The establishment of QSAR techniques that are based on an understanding of toxic mechanisms is needed to provide a link to physiologically based toxicokinetic and toxicodynamic models, which can provide the means to extrapolate adverse effects across species and exposure regimes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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