Ivan Rusyn, Ph.D., M.D.
Texas A&M University
An NIEHS grantee and colleagues developed and demonstrated a new method for quickly evaluating the health impacts of existing complex substances. The new approach could help minimize toxicity testing in animals, especially when assessing chemical alternatives.
The researchers developed a chemical profiling technique that combines experimental and computational information to categorize complex substances, including mixtures. Their method integrates chemical and biological data by using a series of cell models to screen chemicals for similarities in biological activity, which indicates whether a substance will affect living cells or tissues.
Using their new approach, the researchers analyzed 21 petroleum substances from five product groups. They exposed heart and liver cells to extracts of the petroleum substances and then combined the cellular response data with transcriptome data from the liver cells to place the petroleum substances into distinct groups. They found that the bioactivity of petroleum substances could be grouped in a manner similar to categories based on manufacturing process. They also observed a high degree of correlation between bioactivity and physico-chemical properties and saw the groupings improve when they combined chemical and biological data.
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