Generalized Concentration Addition Modeling Predicts Mixture Effects of Environmental PPARγ Agonists

Toxicol Sci. 2016 Sep;153(1):18-27. doi: 10.1093/toxsci/kfw100. Epub 2016 Jun 2.


The vast array of potential environmental toxicant combinations necessitates the development of efficient strategies for predicting toxic effects of mixtures. Current practices emphasize the use of concentration addition to predict joint effects of endocrine disrupting chemicals in coexposures. Generalized concentration addition (GCA) is one such method for predicting joint effects of coexposures to chemicals and has the advantage of allowing for mixture components to have differences in efficacy (ie, dose-response curve maxima). Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARγ) is a nuclear receptor that plays a central role in regulating lipid homeostasis, insulin sensitivity, and bone quality and is the target of an increasing number of environmental toxicants. Here, we tested the applicability of GCA in predicting mixture effects of therapeutic (rosiglitazone and nonthiazolidinedione partial agonist) and environmental PPARγ ligands (phthalate compounds identified using EPA's ToxCast database). Transcriptional activation of human PPARγ1 by individual compounds and mixtures was assessed using a peroxisome proliferator response element-driven luciferase reporter. Using individual dose-response parameters and GCA, we generated predictions of PPARγ activation by the mixtures, and we compared these predictions with the empirical data. At high concentrations, GCA provided a better estimation of the experimental response compared with 3 alternative models: toxic equivalency factor, effect summation and independent action. These alternatives provided reasonable fits to the data at low concentrations in this system. These experiments support the implementation of GCA in mixtures analysis with endocrine disrupting compounds and establish PPARγ as an important target for further studies of chemical mixtures.

Keywords: PPARγ; mixtures; modeling; phthalates.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • COS Cells
  • Chlorocebus aethiops
  • Environmental Pollutants / toxicity*
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / pharmacology
  • Models, Theoretical*
  • PPAR gamma / agonists*
  • Rosiglitazone
  • Thiazolidinediones / pharmacology


  • Environmental Pollutants
  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • PPAR gamma
  • Thiazolidinediones
  • Rosiglitazone