Founded in 1981, the Japanese Society of Toxicology (JSOT) has grown into an organization of nearly 3,000 members working together to advance the nation’s scientific knowledge and understanding of toxicology through the implementation of planning that ensures a systematic and efficient expenditure of energies and resources, and is closely aligned with a strategy for accomplishing the Society’s long-range plans. To promote public education in toxicology, the Society organizes public lectures during each year’s annual meeting. Other activities include hosting scientific conferences, promoting continuing education, and facilitating international collaboration. Internally, the JSOT operates five standing committees: General Affairs, Educational, Editorial, Finance, and Science and Publicity to handle its necessary relationships. To bestow official recognition, the Society established its Toxicologist Certification Program in 1997, and has certified 536 members as Diplomat Toxicologists (DJSOT) as of May 1, 2016. Furthermore, on the same date, 43 JSOT members were certified as Emeritus Diplomats of the JSOT (EDJSOT). The Society has launched two official journals, the “Journal of Toxicological Sciences (JTS)” in 1981 and “Fundamental Toxicological Sciences (Fundam. Toxicol. Sci.)” in 2014. As for participation in the international organizations, the JSOT (then known as the Toxicological Research Group) joined the International Union of Toxicology as a charter member in 1980, and became a founding member of the Asian Society of Toxicology at its inauguration in 1994. Into the future, the JSOT will continue working diligently to advance knowledge and understanding of toxicology and secure its place among the interdisciplinary fields of science, humane studies, and ethics.
The Journal of Toxicological Sciences, published by The Japanese Society of Toxicology (JSOT), is an international scientific journal covering the entire field of toxicology. This article reviews the history of The Journal of Toxicological Sciences as well as actions taken by the Editorial Committee to improve the journal and the results of these initiatives.
Pharmaceutical companies continuously face challenges to deliver new drugs with true medical value. R&D productivity of drug development projects depends on 1) the value of the drug concept and 2) data and in-depth knowledge that are used rationally to evaluate the drug concept’s validity. A model-based data-intensive drug development approach is a key competitive factor used by innovative pharmaceutical companies to reduce information bias and rationally demonstrate the value of drug concepts. Owing to the accumulation of publicly available biomedical information, our understanding of the pathophysiological mechanisms of diseases has developed considerably; it is the basis for identifying the right drug target and creating a drug concept with true medical value. Our understanding of the pathophysiological mechanisms of disease animal models can also be improved; it can thus support rational extrapolation of animal experiment results to clinical settings. The Systems Biology approach, which leverages publicly available transcriptome data, is useful for these purposes. Furthermore, applying Systems Pharmacology enables dynamic simulation of drug responses, from which key research questions to be addressed in the subsequent studies can be adequately informed. Application of Systems Biology/Pharmacology to toxicology research, namely Systems Toxicology, should considerably improve the predictability of drug-induced toxicities in clinical situations that are difficult to predict from conventional preclinical toxicology studies. Systems Biology/Pharmacology/Toxicology models can be continuously improved using iterative learn–confirm processes throughout preclinical and clinical drug discovery and development processes. Successful implementation of data-intensive drug development approaches requires cultivation of an adequate R&D culture to appreciate this approach.
Perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) are persistent environmental contaminants. Perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) are representatives of PFASs. Recently, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) set the health advisory level as 70 parts per trillion for lifetime exposure to PFOS and PFOA from drinking water, based on the EPA’s 2016 Health Effects Support Documents. Then, a monograph on PFOA was made available online by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, where the agency classified PFOA as “possibly carcinogenic to humans” (Group 2B). The distinction between PFOS and PFOA, however, may not be easily understood from the above documents. This paper discussed differential toxicity between PFOS and PFOA focusing on neurotoxicity, developmental toxicity and carcinogenicity, mainly based on these documents. The conclusions are as follows: Further mechanistic studies may be necessary for ultrasonic-induced PFOS-specific neurotoxicity. To support the hypothesis for PFOS-specific neonatal death that PFOS interacts directly with components of natural lung surfactant, in vivo studies to relate the physicochemical effects to lung collapse may be required. PFOA-induced DNA damage secondary to oxidative stress may develop to mutagenicity under the condition where PFOA-induced apoptosis is not sufficient to remove the damaged cells. A study to find whether PFOA induces apoptosis in normal human cells may contribute to assessment of human carcinogenicity. Studies for new targets such as hepatocyte nuclear factor 4α (HNF4α) may help clarify the underlying mechanism for PFOA-induced carcinogenicity.
Air pollutants such as diesel exhaust particles (DEP) are thought to cause pulmonary diseases such as asthma as a result of oxidative stress. While DEP contain a large number of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, we have focused on 9,10-phenanthrenequinone (9,10-PQ) and 1,2-naphthoquinone (1,2-NQ) because of their chemical properties based on their oxidative and chemical modification capabilities. We have found that 9,10-PQ interacts with electron donors such as NADPH (in the presence of enzymes) and dithiols, resulting in generation of excess reactive oxygen species (ROS) through redox cycling. We have also shown that 1,2-NQ is able to modify protein thiols, leading to protein adducts associated with activation of redox signal transduction pathways at lower concentrations and toxicity at higher concentrations. In this review, we briefly introduce our findings from the last two decades.
Pharmaceutical (drug) safety assessment covers a diverse science-field in the drug discovery and development including the post-approval and post-marketing phases in order to evaluate safety and risk management. The principle in toxicological science is to be placed on both of pure and applied sciences that are derived from past/present scientific knowledge and coming new science and technology. In general, adverse drug reactions are presented as “biological responses to foreign substances.” This is the basic concept of thinking about the manifestation of adverse drug reactions. Whether or not toxic expressions are extensions of the pharmacological effect, adverse drug reactions as seen from molecular targets are captured in the category of “on-target” or “off-target”, and are normally expressed as a biological defense reaction. Accordingly, reactions induced by pharmaceuticals can be broadly said to be defensive reactions. Recent molecular biological conception is in line with the new, remarkable scientific and technological developments in the medical and pharmaceutical areas, and the viewpoints in the field of toxicology have shown that they are approaching toward the same direction as well. This paper refers to the basic concept of pharmaceutical toxicology, the differences for safety assessment in each stage of drug discovery and development, regulatory submission, and the concept of scientific considerations for risk assessment and management from the viewpoint of “how can multidisciplinary toxicology contribute to innovative drug discovery and development?” And also realistic translational research from preclinical to clinical application is required to have a significant risk management in post market by utilizing whole scientific data derived from basic and applied scientific research works. In addition, the significance for employing the systems toxicology based on AOP (Adverse Outcome Pathway) analysis is introduced, and coming challenges on precision medicine are to be addressed for the new aspect of efficacy and safety evaluation.
Epidemiologic evidence has demonstrated associations between early life exposure to industrial chemicals and the occurrence of disease states, including cognitive and behavioral abnormalities, in children. The developing brain in the fetal and infantile periods is extremely vulnerable to chemicals because the blood-brain barrier is not completely formed during these periods. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) developmental neurotoxicity (DNT) test guideline, TG426, updated in 2007, comprises in vivo behavioral observational tests and other tests intended to assess DNT induced by exposure to industrial chemicals. These chemicals may enter the market without having been subjected to DNT testing, as DNT test data is not mandated by law at the time of chemical registration. In addition, proprietary rights have led to problems concerning the non-disclosure of industrial chemical toxicity test data, including DNT test data. To overcome the disadvantages of high-cost and low time efficiency of in vivo DNT tests, in vitro or in silico tests are the proposed alternatives, but it is unlikely that the results of such tests would reflect changes in higher brain functions. Accordingly, the current DNT test guidelines need to be revised to avoid overlooking or neglecting the occurrence of DNT induced by exposure to low doses of chemicals. This review also proposes the introduction of novel in vivo DNT testing methods in light of a cost-performance analysis.
Bio-organometallics is a research strategy of biology that uses organic-inorganic hybrid molecules. The molecules are expected to exhibit useful bioactivities based on the unique structure formed by interaction between the organic structure and intramolecular metal(s). However, studies on both biology and toxicology of organic-inorganic hybrid molecules have been incompletely performed. There can be two types of toxicological studies of bio-organometallics; one is evaluation of organic-inorganic hybrid molecules and the other is analysis of biological systems from the viewpoint of toxicology using organic-inorganic hybrid molecules. Our recent studies indicate that cytotoxicity of hybrid molecules containing a metal that is nontoxic in inorganic forms can be more toxic than that of hybrid molecules containing a metal that is toxic in inorganic forms when the structure of the ligand is the same. Additionally, it was revealed that organic-inorganic hybrid molecules are useful for analysis of biological systems important for understanding the toxicity of chemical compounds including heavy metals.
A wide variety of drugs and chemicals have been shown to produce induction and inhibition of heme-metabolizing enzymes, and of drug-metabolizing enzymes, including cytochrome P450s (P450s, CYPs), which consist of many molecular species with lower substrate specificity. Such chemically induced enzyme alterations are coordinately or reciprocally regulated through the same and/or different signal transductions. From the toxicological point of view, these enzymatic changes sometimes exacerbate inherited diseases, such as precipitation of porphyrogenic attacks, although the induction of these enzymes is dependent on the animal species in response to the differences in the stimuli of the liver, where they are also metabolized by P450s. Since P450s are hemoproteins, their induction and/or inhibition by chemical compounds could be coordinately accompanied by heme synthesis and/or inhibition. This review will take a retrospective view of research works carried out in our department and current findings on chemical-induced changes in hepatic heme metabolism in many places, together with current knowledge. Specifically, current beneficial aspects of induction of heme oxygenase-1, a rate-limiting heme degradation enzyme, and its relation to reciprocal and coordinated changes in P450s, with special reference to CYP2A5, in the liver are discussed. Mechanistic studies are also summarized in relation to current understanding on these aspects. Emphasis is also paid to an example of a single chemical compound that could cause various changes by mediating multiple signal transduction systems. Current toxicological studies have been developing by utilizing a sophisticated “omics” technology and survey integrated changes in the tissues produced by the administration of a chemical, even in time- and dose-dependent manners. Toxicological studies are generally carried out step by step to determine and elucidate mechanisms produced by drugs and chemicals. Such approaches are correct; however, current “omics” technology can clarify overall changes occurring in the cells and tissues after treating animals with drugs and chemicals, integrate them and discuss the results. In the present review, we will discuss chemical-induced similar changes of heme synthesis and degradation, and of P450s and finally convergence to similar or different directions.
Silent Spring by Rachel Carson (1962) established a role for environmental chemicals in cancer and Our Stolen Future by Theo Colbone, Dianne Dumanoski and John Peterson Myers (1996) coined the concept of “Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs)” with its mechanistic plausibility for all the living organisms. For basic biologists, seeing a non-monotonic dose-response curve was a matter of course. In contrast, for the toxicologists at that time, the dose-response curves should be monotonic. It took some time for toxicologists to accept the plausibility that animals and humans are subject to the effects of EDCs act in a way that is explained by the new paradigm of receptor-mediated toxicity or in other words “signal toxicity.” In classical toxicology, a toxic substance reaches a cellular target and induces malfunction. The target molecules are proteins including enzymes, lipid membranes, DNA, and other components of the cell which are damaged by the toxic substances. On the other hand, in the case of signal toxicity, a chemical binds to a specific receptor - after that, the chemical itself is not important. The signal from the receptor initiates a cascade of molecular events that leads to various changes in the cells and organs. When the signal is abnormal for a cell or an organ in terms of quality, intensity and timing, then the signal will induce adverse effects to the target. An extreme example of signal toxicity is the 1981 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine work by Drs. Hubel and Wiesel. They blocked the signal of sharp images from the retina to the brain and found that the visual cortex needed this signal at the correct time for its proper development. In humans, such signal disruption is well known to induce “form-deprivation amblyopia” in infants. The concept of signal toxicity widens the range of systems vulnerable to EDCs and facilitates the understanding of their biological characteristics. For example, compared with intrinsic ligands, xenobiotic chemicals usually act as weak agonists and/or weak antagonists of receptor systems; the dose-response characteristics and the dose range will depend on the signaling system of concern. If the signal is used for organogenesis and functional maturation, there would be a critical period in the development during which the disturbance of such signals may cause irreversible changes. Since recepter-based signaling mechanisms are usually an amplification systems, it is hard to set a threshold in its dose response, and the outcome of signal toxicity is often stochastic at low doses. This review attempts to explain the benefits of incorporating the concept of signal toxicology for widening the range of toxicology for the better protection of human and environmental health in modern civilized life, where chemicals are designed to be less toxic in terms of traditional toxicity but not yet in “signal toxicity.”