Development and validation of in vitro bioassays for 2,3,7,8-TCDD equivalents

S. Safe, D. Davis, M. Romkes, C. Yao, B. Keyes, J. Piskorska-Pliszczynska, K. Farrell, G. Mason, M. A. Denomme, L. Safe, B. Zmudzka, M. Holcomb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Toxic halogenated aryl hydrocarbons are industrial compounds and/or by-products which have been detected as complex mixtures in almost every component of the global ecosystem. Included in this class of chemical pollutants are the halogenated (Cl/Br) biphenyls (PCBs/PBBs), dibenzo-p-dioxins (PCDDs/PBDDs) and dibenzofurans (PCDFs/PBDFs). Rat hepatoma H-4-II E cells are highly sensitive to the induction of aryl hydrocarbon hydroxylase (AHH) and ethoxyresorufin O-deethylase (EROD) by 2,3,7,8-TCDD and related toxic halogenated aromatics and for > 25 of these compounds there was an excellent correlation (r = 0.85 to 0.93) between their in vitro pEC50 values for induction and their pED50 values for in vivo effects in the rat (AHH induction, body weight loss and thymic atrophy). Moreover, for selected PCB, PCDD and PCDF congeners comparable linear correlations between in vitro induction activity and in vivo toxicities in the guinea pig (AHH induction and body weight loss) and mouse (immunotoxicity) were also observed. The data confirm the utility of the in vitro induction bioassay for toxic halogenated aromatics. The results of these studies permit the calculation of estimated "2,3,7,8-TCDD equivalent ranges" for most of the important toxic halogenated aromatics and provide a more rational basis for risk assessment of these compounds and their mixtures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)853-860
Number of pages8
Issue number1-6
StatePublished - 1989


  • 2,3,7,8-TCDD
  • AHH induction
  • toxic equivalents

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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