Leveraging human genetic and adverse outcome pathway (AOP) data to inform susceptibility in human health risk assessment

Mamm Genome. 2018 Feb;29(1-2):190-204. doi: 10.1007/s00335-018-9738-7. Epub 2018 Feb 23.


Estimation of susceptibility differences in human health risk assessment (HHRA) has been challenged by a lack of available susceptibility and variability data after exposure to a specific environmental chemical or pharmaceutical. With the increasingly large number of available data sources that contain polymorphism and other genetic data, human genetic variability that informs susceptibility can be better incorporated into HHRA. A recent policy, the 2016 The Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the twenty-first Century Act, requires the US Environmental Protection Agency to evaluate new and existing toxic chemicals with explicit consideration of susceptible populations of all types (life stage, exposure, genetic, etc.). We propose using the adverse outcome pathway (AOP) construct to organize, identify, and characterize human genetic susceptibility in HHRA. We explore how publicly available human genetic datasets can be used to gain mechanistic understanding of molecular events and characterize human susceptibility for an adverse outcome. We present a computational method that implements publicly available human genetic data to prioritize AOPs with potential for human genetic variability. We describe the application of this approach across multiple described AOPs for health outcomes of interest, and by focusing on a single molecular initiating event. This contributes to a long-term goal to improve estimates of human susceptibility for use in HHRA for single and multiple chemicals.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adverse Outcome Pathways
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease*
  • Genome, Human / drug effects*
  • Humans
  • Mutagenicity Tests
  • Risk Assessment / trends*