Special Issue "In Vitro Toxicology: Screening Tools for Risk Assessment"

A special issue of Toxics (ISSN 2305-6304). This special issue belongs to the section "Exposome Analysis and Risk Assessment".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2021) | Viewed by 3025

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Diego Baderna
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
1. Department of Environmental Health Sciences, Istituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche Mario Negri IRCCS, 20156 Milano, Italy
2. CellTox Italian Association of in vitro toxicology, Italy
Interests: bioassays as supporting tools for hazard and risk assessment of toxicants and mixture; in vitro toxicology; ecotoxicology
Dr. Nathalie Steimberg
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
1. Laboratory of Tissue Engineering, Department of Clinical and Experimental Sciences, School of Medicine, University of Brescia, 25123 Brescia, Italy
2. CellTox Italian Association of in vitro toxicology, Italy
Interests: tissue engineering applied to the development of suitable in vitro model in respect of 3R's; in vitro toxicology; assessment of toxicological/pharmacological impact of chemicals, drugs included in various matrices (liquids, solid,sludges, wastewaters, air....) pure or as mixtures

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In vitro bioassays play a key role in assessing the hazard and risk of substances and complex environmental or anthropic mixtures, allowing for faster screening of substances than when using tests conducted in vivo. Thanks to the strong technological development, many advances have been made in recent years in the field of biological assays applied to risk assessment, with the generation of increasingly complex models close to the tissues and organs to be studied and allowing the discovery of more precocious, precise, and specific responses. In parallel, the recognition of in vitro methods as reliable and effective screening tools has promoted the establishment of high-throughput screening programs for prioritization of chemicals based on in vitro bioactivity profiling, such as the ToxCast program, which prioritizes toxicity testing of environmental chemicals. The huge amount of data generated by these programs has then allowed the integration of in vitro models with computational and machine learning techniques to generate integrated approaches to testing and assessment to address the limited testing efforts toward chemicals potentially representing the greatest hazard to human health and the environment.

This Special Issue seeks to highlight timely research studies addressing the use of in vitro models as supporting tools for the hazard and risk assessment of stressors, including chemicals, physical agents, and chemical mixtures derived from environmental or anthropic sources, paying particular attention to emerging sanitary and environmental challenges. Studies using co-culture, 3D models, organoids, and induced pluripotent stem cells as well as ecotoxicological assays with in vitro model organisms (e.g., bacteria, algae, embryos, fish cell lines) are also of interest.

For this Special Issue, authors are welcome to submit original research papers and reviews.

Specific areas of research may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  1. Discovery and validation of new in vitro models and endpoints to investigate the effects of toxicants on humans and ecological receptors;
  2. In vitro epigenetic effects of chemicals;
  3. Multi-omics strategies to discover new potential biomarkers of effects of emerging contaminants, including nanomaterials, microplastics, and drugs;
  4. Multi-omics strategies to define or support the adverse outcome pathways of traditional and new toxicants;
  5. Quantitative risk assessment using in vitro data;
  6. New approaches for in vitro to in vivo extrapolation for quantitative risk assessment;
  7. Integrated approaches to testing and assessment (IATA) involving in vitro data;
  8. Species-specific in vitro models for target organ toxicity studies of veterinary interest.

We look forward to receiving your contributions.

Dr. Diego Baderna
Dr. Nathalie Steimberg
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Toxics is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • in vitro models
  • risk assessment
  • in vitro toxicology
  • in vitro ecotoxicology
  • integrated approaches to testing and assessment (IATA)
  • adverse outcome pathways (AOPs)
  • toxicogenomics
  • multi-omics approach
  • induced pluripotent stem cells
  • alternative methods

Published Papers (1 paper)

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HiPSC-Derived Hepatocyte-like Cells Can Be Used as a Model for Transcriptomics-Based Study of Chemical Toxicity
Toxics 2022, 10(1), 1; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxics10010001 - 21 Dec 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2334
Traditional toxicity risk assessment approaches have until recently focussed mainly on histochemical readouts for cell death. Modern toxicology methods attempt to deduce a mechanistic understanding of pathways involved in the development of toxicity, by using transcriptomics and other big data-driven methods such as [...] Read more.
Traditional toxicity risk assessment approaches have until recently focussed mainly on histochemical readouts for cell death. Modern toxicology methods attempt to deduce a mechanistic understanding of pathways involved in the development of toxicity, by using transcriptomics and other big data-driven methods such as high-content screening. Here, we used a recently described optimised method to differentiate human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) to hepatocyte-like cells (HLCs), to assess their potential to classify hepatotoxic and non-hepatotoxic chemicals and their use in mechanistic toxicity studies. The iPSC-HLCs could accurately classify chemicals causing acute hepatocellular injury, and the transcriptomics data on treated HLCs obtained by TempO-Seq technology linked the cytotoxicity to cellular stress pathways, including oxidative stress and unfolded protein response (UPR). Induction of these stress pathways in response to amiodarone, diclofenac, and ibuprofen, was demonstrated to be concentration and time dependent. The transcriptomics data on diclofenac-treated HLCs were found to be more sensitive in detecting differentially expressed genes in response to treatment, as compared to existing datasets of other diclofenac-treated in vitro hepatocyte models. Hence iPSC-HLCs generated by transcription factor overexpression and in metabolically optimised medium appear suitable for chemical toxicity detection as well as mechanistic toxicity studies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue In Vitro Toxicology: Screening Tools for Risk Assessment)
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