A Mechanistic Approach to Modeling Respiratory Sensitization

Chemical Research in Toxicology Volume 27, Issue 2 (2014) 219-239

Chemical respiratory sensitization is an important occupational health problem which may lead to severely incapacitated human health, yet there are currently no validated or widely accepted models for identifying and characterizing the potential of a chemical to induce respiratory sensitization. This is in part due to the ongoing uncertainty about the immunological mechanisms through which respiratory sensitization may be acquired. Despite the lack of test method, regulations such as REACH still require an assessment of respiratory sensitization for risk assessment and/or for the purposes of classification and labeling. The REACH guidance describes an integrated evaluation strategy to characterize what information sources could be available to facilitate such an assessment. The components of this include a consideration of well-established structural alerts and existing data (whether it be derived from read-across, (quantitative) structure-activity relationships ((Q)SAR),  in vivo studies etc.). There has been some progress in developing SARs as well as a handful of empirical QSARs. More recently, efforts have been focused on exploring whether the reaction chemistry mechanistic domains first characterized for skin sensitization are relevant for respiratory sensitization and to what extent modifications or refinements are needed to rationalize the differences between the two end points as far as their chemistry is concerned. This study has built upon the adverse outcome pathway (AOP) for skin sensitization that was developed and published by the OECD in 2012. We have structured a workflow to characterize the initiating events that are relevant in driving respiratory sensitization. OASIS pipeline technology was used to encode these events as components in a software platform to enable a prediction of respiratory sensitization potential to be made for new untested chemicals. This prediction platform could be useful in the assessment of respiratory sensitization potential or for grouping chemicals for subsequent read-across.


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