Chemical respiratory allergy: Reverse engineering an adverse outcome pathway

Ian Kimber, Rebecca J. Dearman, David A. Basketter, Darrell R. Boverhof

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Allergic sensitisation of the respiratory tract by chemicals is associated with rhinitis and asthma and remains an important occupational health issue. Although less than 80 chemicals have been confirmed as respiratory allergens the adverse health effects can be serious, and in rare instances can be fatal, and there are, in addition, related socioeconomic issues. The challenges that chemical respiratory allergy pose for toxicologists are substantial. No validated methods are available for hazard identification and characterisation, and this is due in large part to the fact that there remains considerable uncertainty and debate about the mechanisms through which sensitisation of the respiratory tract is acquired. Despite that uncertainty, there is a need to establish some common understanding of the key events and processes that are involved in respiratory sensitisation to chemicals and that might in turn provide the foundations for novel approaches to safety assessment. In recent years the concept of adverse outcome pathways (AOP) has gained some considerable interest among the toxicology community as a basis for outlining the key steps leading to an adverse health outcome, while also providing a framework for focusing future research, and for developing alternative paradigms for hazard characterisation.Here we explore application of the same general principles to an examination of the induction by chemicals of respiratory sensitisation. In this instance, however, we have chosen to adopt a reverse engineering approach and to model a possible AOP for chemical respiratory allergy working backwards from the elicitation of adverse health effects to the cellular and molecular mechanisms that are implicated in the acquisition of sensitisation. © 2014 Elsevier Ireland Ltd.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)32-39
    Number of pages7
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 6 Apr 2014


    • Adverse outcome pathway
    • Occupational asthma
    • Respiratory allergy
    • Sensitisation of the respiratory tract


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