To date there are no OECD validated alternative approaches to study toxicity following inhalation exposure to airborne chemicals. The available OECD test guidelines for acute inhalation toxicity aim to estimate a value of the lethal air concentration of the test chemical leading to the death of 50% of the exposed animals (LC50), to satisfy hazard classification and labelling requirements. This paper explores the view that alternative approaches must compare to outcomes of existing guideline methods to become accepted and implemented in a regulatory context. This case study describes the initiatives taken to validate the lung surfactant bioassay, an in vitro cell-free method, and discusses the challenges faced. While the lung surfactant bioassay could not predict the GHS classification for acute inhalation toxicity of 26 chemicals, the assay successfully predicted the clinical signs of respiratory toxicity observed during or shortly after exposure in vivo as reported in registration dossiers. The lung surfactant bioassay is a promising alternative approach to assess the potential of chemicals to cause changes to respiration remaining after exposure (indicating decreased lung function), and can be combined with other test methods in an integrated approach to testing and assessment of inhaled substances.
Authors: E Da Silva, C Hickey, G Ellis, K S Hougaard, J B Sørli
; Full Source: Current research in toxicology 2021 May 21;2:204-209. doi: 10.1016/j.crtox.2021.05.002.