The future of toxicogenomics prediction of toxicity

One of the major goals of toxicogenomics is the prediction of toxicity of unknown compounds. To facilitate achieving this goal, several institutes have started efforts to establish databases that would allow the collection of gene expression data, to analyze this data and compare and contrast gene expression results. The overall goal is to learn more about known toxicants by examining them in a full, systems biology context and to discover similarities between novel compounds and known toxicants. One of these databases is the Chemical Effects in Biological Systems (CEBS) (10), being developed by the National Center for Toxicogenomics at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. The mission of CEBS is to provide a repository of data retrieved from toxicogenomic studies and to enable scientists to more easily perform cross-compound and cross-experiment analysis to gain further insight into toxicological processes.

Another challenge the field faces are the difficulties in comparing data sets created by different investigators on different platforms. Often several additional factors, like animal strains, doses, time points and normalization procedures used, are different. In the past, those differences were often not or at best only partially reported and attached to public data sets. To improve this situation, the Microarray Gene Expression Data society ( was formed and has developed standards for publication of microarray data, published as 'Minimal Information About a Microarray Experiment' (MIAME, see also Chapter 22) (11). The information collected according to these guidelines enables researchers to replicate analysis published in reports following those guidelines. As an extension of this effort, MIAME-Tox was developed ( Workgroups/tox/tox.html) which collects additional information considered necessary to interpret and replicate toxicology studies.

As described above, the future of toxicogenomics lies in moving away from the analysis of one compound at a time to being able to utilize extensive databases and performing cross-compound analysis. This promises to facilitate the discovery of novel general concepts about the pathophysiol-ogy of certain adverse phenotypes - and the discovery of potential therapeutic interventions at the inception of an adverse response to an environmental stressor.

0 0

Post a comment