A novel mechanism-based approach for assessment of developmental toxicity of endocrine disruptors

Endocrine disruptors (EDs) are exogenous substances that interfere with the normal function of the hormone system to cause adverse health effects, such as effects on neurodevelopment, reproduction, and metabolism.

Exposure to EDs during early development specifically raise concern since endogenous hormone signalling plays a critical role in organ system. Minimizing potential human health risks from EDs is a highly prioritized issue in the EU. However, identification and regulatory assessment of EDs is complex and currently requires extensive animal testing to identify toxicological effects, as well as a high level of understanding concerning the underlying molecular and cellular mechanisms.

The purpose of this project is to make use of mechanistic data from animal-free in silico and in vitro models to develop and evaluate a novel mechanism-based approach for the assessment of EDs. In this project we collaborate with researchers at Stockholm University and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences and combine methods, data and expertise from several ongoing projects and research activities. We are using Adverse Outcome Pathway (AOP) methodology to connect data on molecular and cellular mechanisms to health effects on the organism level that are relevant for humans. AOP-networks that describe different mechanisms for endocrine disruption leading to developmental toxicity are developed and used in case studies with specific model substances to investigate how mechanistic data can be used to draw conclusions about adverse health effects.

This project is also linked to and aligned with our activities in the EU Partnership for the Assessment of Risks from Chemicals (PARC).

Funding

This project is funded by the Swedish Research Council for Sustainable Development – FORMAS (January 2021 – December 2024).

Contact

Anna Beronius

Senior research specialist