Advancing Exposure Science through Chemical Data Curation and Integration in the Comparative Toxicogenomics Database

Environ Health Perspect. 2016 Oct;124(10):1592-1599. doi: 10.1289/EHP174. Epub 2016 May 12.


Background: Exposure science studies the interactions and outcomes between environmental stressors and human or ecological receptors. To augment its role in understanding human health and the exposome, we aimed to centralize and integrate exposure science data into the broader biological framework of the Comparative Toxicogenomics Database (CTD), a public resource that promotes understanding of environmental chemicals and their effects on human health.

Objectives: We integrated exposure data within the CTD to provide a centralized, freely available resource that facilitates identification of connections between real-world exposures, chemicals, genes/proteins, diseases, biological processes, and molecular pathways.

Methods: We developed a manual curation paradigm that captures exposure data from the scientific literature using controlled vocabularies and free text within the context of four primary exposure concepts: stressor, receptor, exposure event, and exposure outcome. Using data from the Agricultural Health Study, we have illustrated the benefits of both centralization and integration of exposure information with CTD core data.

Results: We have described our curation process, demonstrated how exposure data can be accessed and analyzed in the CTD, and shown how this integration provides a broad biological context for exposure data to promote mechanistic understanding of environmental influences on human health.

Conclusions: Curation and integration of exposure data within the CTD provides researchers with new opportunities to correlate exposures with human health outcomes, to identify underlying potential molecular mechanisms, and to improve understanding about the exposome.

Citation: Grondin CJ, Davis AP, Wiegers TC, King BL, Wiegers JA, Reif DM, Hoppin JA, Mattingly CJ. 2016. Advancing exposure science through chemical data curation and integration in the Comparative Toxicogenomics Database. Environ Health Perspect 124:1592-1599;