Susceptibility based upon Chemical Interaction with Disease Processes: Potential Implications for Risk Assessment
Ginsberg, G., R. Dietert, AND B. Sonawane. Susceptibility based upon Chemical Interaction with Disease Processes: Potential Implications for Risk Assessment. Current Environmental Health Reports. Springer International Publishing AG, Cham (ZG), Switzerland, 1(4):314–324, (2014).
Risk assessment of chemicals has become more concerned with sources of inter-individual variability in recent years as the wide range of host and environmental factors that could potentially affect biological response have been explored.
One of the challenges facing toxicology and risk assessment is that numerous host and environmental factors may modulate vulnerability and risk. An area of increasing interest is the potential for chemicals to interact with background aging and disease processes, an interaction that may yield cumulative damage, altered chemical potency, and increased disease incidence. This review outlines the interactions possible between chemicals and background disease and identifies the type of information needed to evaluate such interactions. Key among these is the existence of a clinically relevant and easy to measure biomarker of disease risk which allows the identification of vulnerable individuals based upon the level of risk biomarker. The impact of toxic chemicals on this biomarker can then be used to predict how the chemical modifies disease risk as long as related mechanistic and toxicological data are consistent with toxicant effect on the disease process. Several case studies are briefly presented which describe the toxic chemical, the clinical biomarker and the impacted disease including: fine particulate matter/decreased heart rate variability/increased cardiopulmonary events; cadmium/decreased glomerular filtration rate/increased chronic kidney disease; methyl mercury/decreased paraoxonase-1/increased cardiovascular risk; trichloroethylene/increased anti-nuclear antibody/autoimmunity; dioxin/increased CYP1A1/hypertension. These case studies point out that consideration of how a chemical interacts with background aging and disease processes may increase the public health relevance of risk assessment and identify important vulnerabilities that should be accounted for in such assessments.