ALTEX - Alternatives to animal experimentation <p><strong>The journal ALTEX – Alternatives to Animal Experimentation publishes open access academic articles on the development and implementation of alternatives to the use of animals for scientific purposes and informs on international developments in this field. </strong></p> <p>ALTEX is the official organ of&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">CAAT</a>, <a href="">CAAT-Europe</a>, the Doerenkamp-Zbinden Chairs, <a href="">EUSAAT</a> and <a href="">t<sup>4</sup></a>.</p> en-US <p>Articles are distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is appropriately cited (CC-BY). Copyright on any article in ALTEX is retained by the author(s).</p> (Sonja von Aulock) (Webmaster) Fri, 19 Jul 2019 15:28:05 +0200 OJS 60 Editorial Sonja von Aulock ##submission.copyrightStatement## Fri, 19 Jul 2019 00:00:00 +0200 Beyond the 3Rs: Expanding the use of human-relevant replacement methods in biomedical research <p>This year marks the 60<sup>th</sup> anniversary of Russell and Burch’s pioneering book, <em>The Principles of Humane Experimental Technique</em>. Their 3Rs framework has helped to inspire humane and scientific progress in experimental technique. However, it is time to update its strategic application. The 21<sup>st</sup> century has already seen the development of promising, high-tech non-animal models, such as organs-on-a-chip and computational approaches that, in our view, will replace animals as the default option in biomedical experimentation. How fast this transition will take place will depend on the pace at which these new models are optimized to reflect the biology of humans, rather than that of non-human animals. While the new methods are likely to reshape all areas in which animals are currently used in science, we particularly encourage their application in biomedical research, which accounts for the bulk of animals used. We call for the pursuit of a three-prong strategy that focuses on (1) advancing non-animal methods as replacements of animal experiments, (2) applying them to biomedical research, and (3) improving their relevance to human biology. As academics and scientists, we feel that educational efforts targeted at young scientists in training will be an effective and sustainable way to advance this vision. Our strategy may not promise an imminent end to the use of animals in science, but it will bring us closer to an era in which the 3Rs are increasingly perceived as a solution to a receding problem. Russell and Burch themselves surely would have welcomed these positive changes.</p> Kathrin Herrmann, Francesca Pistollato, Martin L. Stephens ##submission.copyrightStatement## Fri, 19 Jul 2019 00:00:00 +0200 A modular approach for assembly of quantitative adverse outcome pathways <p>The adverse outcome pathway (AOP) framework is a conceptual construct that mechanistically links molecular initiating events to adverse biological outcomes through a series of causal key events (KEs) that represent the perturbation of the biological system. Quantitative, predictive AOPs are necessary for screening emerging contaminants and potential substitutes to inform their prioritization for testing. In practice, they are not widely used because they can be costly to develop and validate. A modular approach for assembly of quantitative AOPs, based on existing knowledge, would allow for rapid development of biological pathway models to screen contaminants for potential hazards and prioritize them for subsequent testing and modeling. For each pair of KEs, a quantitative KE relationship (KER) can be derived as a response-response function or a conditional probability matrix describing the anticipated change in a KE based on the response of the prior KE. This transfer of response across KERs can be used to assemble a quantitative AOP. Here we demonstrate the use of the proposed approach in two cases: inhibition of cytochrome P450 aromatase leading to reduced fecundity in fathead minnows and ionic glutamate receptor mediated excitotoxicity leading to memory impairment in humans. The models created from these chains have value in characterizing the pathway and the relative level of toxico­logical effect anticipated. This approach to simplistic, modular AOP models has wide applicability for rapid development of biological pathway models.</p> Christy M. Foran, Taylor Rycroft, Jeffrey Keisler, Edward J. Perkins, Igor Linkov, Natàlia Garcia-Reyero ##submission.copyrightStatement## Fri, 19 Jul 2019 00:00:00 +0200 Improved defined approaches for predicting skin sensitization hazard and potency in humans <p>Since the EU banned animal testing for cosmetic products and ingredients in 2013, many defined approaches (DA) for skin sensitization assessment have been developed. Machine learning models were shown to be effective in DAs, but the predictivity might be affected by data imbalance (i.e., more sensitizers than non-sensitizers) and limited information in the databases. To improve the predictivity of DAs, we attempted to apply data-rebalancing ensemble learning (bagging with support vector machine (SVM)) and a novel and comprehensive Cosmetics Europe database. For predicting human hazard and three-class potency, 12 models were built for each using a training set of 96 sub­stances and a test set of 32 substances from the database. The model that predicted hazard with the highest accuracy (90.63% for the test set and 88.54% for the training set, named hazard-DA) used SVM-bagging with combinations of all variables (V6), while the model that predicted potency with the highest accuracy (68.75% for the test set and 82.29% for the training set, named potency-DA) used SVM alone. Both DAs showed better performance than LLNA and other machine learning-based DAs, and the potency-DA provided more in-depth assessment. These findings indicate that SVM-bagging-based DAs provide enhanced predictivity for hazard assessment by further data rebalancing. Meanwhile, the effect of imbalanced data might be offset by more detailed categorization of sensitizers for potency assessment, thus SVM-based DA without bagging could provide sufficient predictivity. The improved DAs in this study could be promising tools for skin sensitization assessment without animal testing.</p> Haojian Li, Jing Bai, Guorui Zhong, Haosi Lin, Changsheng He, Renke Dai, Hongli Du, Lizhen Huang ##submission.copyrightStatement## Fri, 19 Jul 2019 00:00:00 +0200 Comparison of in chemico skin sensitization methods and development of an in chemico skin photosensitization assay <p>Chemical substances that induce an allergic response in skin upon contact are called skin allergens or sensitizers, while chemical substances that elicit an allergic response only in the presence of light are called photoallergens or photo sensitizers. The Direct Peptide Reactivity Assay (DPRA, OECD TG 442C, 2015) and the Amino Acid Derivative Reactivity Assay (ADRA) are <em>in chemico </em>assays used to discriminate between allergens and non-allergens. The DPRA and the ADRA respectively monitor the depletion of model peptides and modified amino acids induced by crosslinking with test chemicals. In the current study, we compared these two assays and analyzed their suitability to predict the skin sensitization potential of several chemical substances. In order to study the combined effect of a chemical compound and UV light, we modified the DPRA (photo-DPRA) as well as the ADRA (photo-ADRA) by introduction of a photo-irradiation parameter. Analysis using photo-DPRA and photo-ADRA correctly distinguished known photoallergens from non-photoallergens. Upon irradiation, photoallergens selectively showed higher depletion of model peptides or modified amino acids. Thus, photo-DPRA and/or photo-ADRA can serve as non-animal <em>in vitro </em>methods for the identification and assessment of photoallergens/photosensitizers.</p> Nitin H. Patel, Priyanka K. Mishra, Rajendra Nagane, Abhay Deshpande, Irfan Y. Tamboli, Rahul Date ##submission.copyrightStatement## Fri, 19 Jul 2019 00:00:00 +0200 How complex should an in vitro model be? Evaluation of a complex 3D alveolar model with transcriptomic data and computational biological network models <p>To more accurately model inhalation toxicity <em>in vitro</em>, we developed a tetra-culture system that combines lung alveolar epithelial cells, endothelial cells, macrophages, and mast cells in a three-dimensional orientation. We characterized the influence of the added complexity using network perturbation analysis and gene expression data. This allowed us to gain insight into the steady-state profile of the assembled, complete three-dimensional model using all four cell types, and of simpler models of one, two, or three cell types. Gene expression data were analyzed using cause-and-effect biological network models, together with a quantitative network-scoring algorithm, to determine the biological impact of co-culturing the various cell types. In the tetra-culture, macrophages appeared to be the largest contributors to overall network perturbations, promoting high basal levels of oxidative stress and inflammation. This finding led to further optimization of the model using rested macrophages, which decreased the basal inflammatory and cell stress status of the co-culture. We compared transcriptional profiles from publicly available datasets of other <em>in vitro </em>models representing the airways and of healthy human lung tissue with those of our model. We found an increasing correlation between airway models and normal human lung tissue as cell types became more physiologically relevant and the complexity of the system increased. This indicates that the combination of multiple lung-relevant cell types <em>in vitro </em>does indeed increase similarity to the physiological counterpart.</p> Diego Marescotti, Tommaso Serchi, Karsta Luettich, Yang Xiang, Elisa Moschini, Marja Talikka, Florian Martin, Karine Baumer, Remi Dulize, Dariusz Peric, David Bornand, Emmanuel Guedj, Alain Sewer, Sebastian Cambier, Servane Contal, Aline Chary, Arno C. Gutleb, Stefan Frentzel, Nikoloai V. Ivanov, Manuel C. Peitsch, Julia Hoeng ##submission.copyrightStatement## Fri, 19 Jul 2019 00:00:00 +0200 An in vitro coculture system for the detection of sensitization following aerosol exposure <p>The aim of the study was to develop an <em>in vitro </em>model that mimics the alveolar-capillary barrier and that allows assessment of the respiratory sensitizing potential of substances. The 3D <em>in vitro </em>model cultured at the air liquid interface consists of alveolar type II epithelial cells (A549), endothelial cells (EA.hy926), macrophage-like cells (PMA-differentiated THP-1), and dendritic-like cells (non-differentiated THP-1). This alveolar model was exposed apically to nebulized chemical respiratory sensitizers (phthalic anhydride (PA) and trimellitic anhydride (TMA)) or to irritants (methyl salicylate (MeSa) and acrolein (Acr)) at concentrations inducing 25% cytotoxicity. The exposure to respiratory sensitizers induced den­dritic-like cell activation and a specific cytokine release pattern, while exposure to irritants did not. In addition, the cell surface marker OX40L was found to identify dendritic-like cell activation by high molecular weight allergens. With this <em>in vitro </em>model we can postulate a set of promising markers that allow the discrimination of chemical respiratory sensitizers from irritants.</p> Aline Chary, Tommaso Serchi, Elisa Moschini, Jennifer Hennen, Sébastien Cambier, Janine Ezendam, Brunhilde Blömeke, Arno C. Gutleb ##submission.copyrightStatement## Fri, 19 Jul 2019 00:00:00 +0200 Presence of vasculature results in faster insulin response in adipocytes in vascularized adipose tissue model <p>Besides being an energy store, adipose tissue is an endocrine organ closely associated with the vascular system. Human relevant <em>in vitro </em>models are needed to study adipose tissue and related diseases. Vasculature plays a central role in the development and inhibition of adipose tissue-related diseases. <br> Here, an adipocyte culture was established from hASC (human adipose stromal cells), and a vascularized adipose tissue model was established from hASC and HUVEC (human umbilical cord vein endothelial cells) co-culture, utilizing the same differentiation procedure. Comparing these models allowed analysis of the effect of vascularization on adipocytes. Both models were characterized on gene (adipocyte and vasculature-related), protein (von Willebrand factor, collagen IV, CD140b and CD144, secretion of leptin, adiponectin and FABP4), and functional (triglyceride accumulation, glucose uptake, and lipolysis) levels. Additionally, the vascularized adipose tissue model was exposed to chemicals with known effects on adipogenesis and angiogenesis (rosiglitazone, chlorpyrifos, prochloraz, mancozeb, butylparaben, 15-deoxy- Δ12,14-prostaglandin J2, bisphenol A, bis-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate, tributyltin chloride) to compare their effects to the literature. The <em>in vitro </em>vascularized adipose tissue model demonstrated the presence of functional adipocytes and an extensive vascular network, displaying relevant gene and protein markers. Insulin induced glucose uptake, inhibited lipolysis, and influenced vasculature-related genes. The presence of vasculature led to a faster lipolysis inhibition by insulin and modulated responses to chemicals. This novel, thoroughly characterized, vascularized adipose tissue model is a promising new tool for studying adipose tissue as well as the effects of chemicals on adipogenesis and angiogenesis in adipose tissue.</p> Outi Huttala, Jertta-Riina Sarkanen, Tuula Heinonen, Timo Ylikomi ##submission.copyrightStatement## Fri, 19 Jul 2019 00:00:00 +0200 The impact of precision uncertainty on predictive accuracy metrics of non-animal testing methods <p>The ability of non-animal methods to correctly predict the outcome of <em>in vivo </em>testing in repeated applications is referred to as precision. Due to dichotomizing continuous read-outs into discrete “positive/negative” hazard data, non-animal methods can reveal discordant classifications if results are sufficiently close to a defined classification threshold. This paper explores the impact of precision uncertainty on the predictive accuracy of non-animal methods. Using selected non-animal methods for assessing skin sensitization hazard as case study examples, we explore the impact of precision uncertainty separately and in combination with uncertainty due to varying composition and size of experimental samples. Our results underline that discrete numbers on a non-animal method’s sensitivity, specificity, and concordance are of limited value for evaluation of its predictivity. Instead, information on the variability and the upper and lower limits of accuracy metrics should be provided to ensure a transparent assessment of a testing method’s predictivity, and to allow for a meaningful comparison of the predictivity of a non-animal method with that of an animal test.</p> Maria Leontaridou, Silke Gabbert, Robert Landsiedel ##submission.copyrightStatement## Fri, 19 Jul 2019 00:00:00 +0200 Insights into in vitro biokinetics using Virtual Cell Based Assay simulations <p>The Virtual Cell Based Assay (VCBA) is an <em>in silico </em>model that simulates the biokinetics of chemicals in <em>in vitro </em>test systems. VCBA simulations can indicate the degree to which the bioavailable concentration varies across chemicals and experimental conditions, thereby providing important contextual information for comparing the results of different <em>in vitro </em>toxicity experiments. The simulated results can also be used to support <em>in vitro </em>to <em>in vivo </em>extrapolation of toxicity data, especially when the VCBA is coupled to a physiologically based kinetic model. <br> In this work, we selected 83 chemicals previously tested for <em>in vitro </em>cytotoxicity with a neutral red uptake (NRU) assay and used the respective <em>in vitro </em>data to optimize a toxicity and effects model simulating the 3T3 BALB/c cell line in a 96-well microplate with 5% serum supplementation. We then used the optimized parameters to simulate alternative experimental conditions. The simulations show the impact of different physicochemical properties on chemical fate of this diverse group of chemicals and how the different partitioning (to protein, lipid, and plastic) and kinetic (evaporation and degradation) events are intrinsically connected. The results of VCBA simulations were interpreted with respect to the applicability domain of the different QSARs incorporated in the model and the underlying assumptions and uncertainties of the VCBA.</p> Susana Proença, Alicia Paini, Elisabeth Joossens, Jose Vicente Sala Benito, Elisabet Berggren, Andrew Worth, Maurice Whelan, Pilar Prieto ##submission.copyrightStatement## Fri, 19 Jul 2019 00:00:00 +0200 Generalized Read-Across (GenRA): A workflow implemented into the EPA CompTox Chemicals Dashboard <p>Generalized Read-Across (GenRA) is a data driven approach that makes read-across predictions on the basis of a similarity weighted activity of source analogues (nearest neighbors). GenRA has been described in more detail in the literature (Shah et al., 2016; Helman et al., 2018). Here we present its implementation within the EPA’s CompTox Chemicals Dashboard to provide public access to a GenRA module structured as a read-across workflow. GenRA assists researchers in identifying source analogues, evaluating their validity and making predictions of <em>in vivo </em>toxicity effects for a target substance. Predictions are presented as binary outcomes reflecting the presence or absence of toxicity together with quantitative measures of uncertainty. The approach allows users to identify analogues in different ways, quickly assess the availability of relevant <em>in vivo </em>data for those analogues, and visualize these in a data matrix to evaluate the consistency and concordance of the available experimental data for those analogues before making a GenRA prediction. Predic­tions can be exported into a tab-separated value (TSV) or Excel file for additional review and analysis (e.g., doses of analogues associated with production of toxic effects). GenRA offers a new capability of making reproducible read-across predictions in an easy-to-use interface.</p> George Helman, Imran Shah, Antony J. Williams, Jeff Edwards, Jeremy Dunne, Grace Patlewicz ##submission.copyrightStatement## Fri, 19 Jul 2019 00:00:00 +0200 Advice on avoiding the Valley of Death: Insights from a 3Rs model of aversive and emetic compound identification Robin S. B. Williams, Paul L. R. Andrews ##submission.copyrightStatement## Fri, 19 Jul 2019 00:00:00 +0200 Applications for animal experiments are rarely rejected in Germany Silke Strittmatter ##submission.copyrightStatement## Fri, 19 Jul 2019 00:00:00 +0200 National Conference on Alternatives to Animal Experiments (NCAAE-2018) in commemoration of launching of the Society for Alternatives to Animal Experiments (SAAE) in India Mohammad A. Akbarsha, Sheikh Raisuddin, Dipti M. Kapoor ##submission.copyrightStatement## Fri, 19 Jul 2019 00:00:00 +0200 Implementing Data – The Future of Alternative Methods – VZET Symposium 2019 Bettina Seeger ##submission.copyrightStatement## Fri, 19 Jul 2019 00:00:00 +0200 The biological evaluation of medical devices: Transition to 2017/745 MDR in progress Marisa Meloni, Laura Ceriotti, Christian Pellevoisin, Roberta Marcoaldi, Roberta Feliciani, Emanuela Corsini, Amina Saaid ##submission.copyrightStatement## Fri, 19 Jul 2019 00:00:00 +0200 Building blocks for a European Organ-on-Chip roadmap Massimo Mastrangeli, Sylvie Millet, Christine Mummery, Peter Loskill, Dries Braeken, Wolfgang Eberle, Madalena Cipriano, Luis Fernandez, Mart Graef, Xavier Gidrol, Nathalie Picollet-D’Hahan, Berend van Meer, Ignacio Ochoa, Mieke Schutte, Janny van den Eijnden-van Raaij ##submission.copyrightStatement## Fri, 19 Jul 2019 00:00:00 +0200 Corners ##submission.copyrightStatement## Fri, 19 Jul 2019 00:00:00 +0200 Corrigendum to A high-throughput approach to identify specific neurotoxicants / developmental toxicants in human neuronal cell function assays Johannes Delp, Simon Gutbier, Stefanie Klima, Lisa Hoelting, Kevin Pinto-Gil, Jui-Hua Hsieh, Michael Aichem, Karsten Klein, Falk Schreiber, Raymond R. Tice, Manuel Pastor, Mamta Behl, Marcel Leist ##submission.copyrightStatement## Fri, 19 Jul 2019 00:00:00 +0200 Corrigendum to Normalization of data for viability and relative cell function curves Alice Krebs, Johanna Nyffeler, Jörg Rahnenführer, Marcel Leist ##submission.copyrightStatement## Wed, 17 Jul 2019 00:00:00 +0200 Corrigendum to Recommendation on test readiness criteria for new approach methods in toxicology: exemplified for developmental neurotoxicity Anna Bal-Price, Helena T. Hogberg, Kevin M. Crofton, Mardas Daneshian, Rex E. FitzGerald, Ellen Fritsche, Tuula Heinonen, Susanne Hougaard Bennekou, Stefanie Klima, Aldert H. Piersma, Magdalini Sachana, Timothy J. Shafer, Andrea Terron, Florianne Monnet-Tschudi, Barbara Viviani, Tanja Waldmann, Remco H. S. Westerink, Martin F. Wilks, Hilda Witters, Marie-Gabrielle Zurich, Marcel Leist ##submission.copyrightStatement## Fri, 19 Jul 2019 00:00:00 +0200 Corrigendum to Essential components of methods papers Marcel Leist, Jan G. Hengstler ##submission.copyrightStatement## Fri, 19 Jul 2019 00:00:00 +0200 Corrigendum to Chemical concentrations in cell culture compartments (C5) – concentration definitions Jaffar Kisitu, Susanne Hougaard Bennekou, Marcel Leist ##submission.copyrightStatement## Fri, 19 Jul 2019 00:00:00 +0200 Software tools for literature screening in systematic reviews in biomedical research <p>Systematic reviews (SRs) hold promise for implementing the 3Rs in animal sciences: they can retrieve available alternative models, help refine experiments, and identify insufficiencies in, or an excess of, scientific knowledge on a particular topic. Unfortunately, SRs can be labor- and time-intensive, especially the reference screening and data extraction phases. Fortunately, several software tools are available that make screening faster and easier. However, it is not always clear which features each tool offers. Therefore, a feature analysis was performed to compare different reference screening tools as objectively as possible. This analysis enables researchers to select the tool that is most appropriate for their needs. <br> Sixteen different tools were compared: CADIMA, Covidence, DistillerSR, Endnote, Endnote using Bramer’s method, EPPI-Reviewer, EROS, HAWC, Microsoft Excel, Excel using VonVille’s method, Microsoft Word, Rayyan, RevMan, SyRF,, and SWIFT Active Screener. Their support of 21 features categorized as mandatory, desirable, and optional was tested. <br> DistillerSR, EPPI-Reviewer, Covidence, and SWIFT Active Screener support all mandatory features. These tools are preferred for screening references, but none of them are free. The best scoring free tool is Rayyan, which lacks one mandatory function: distinct title/abstract and full-text phases. The lowest scoring tools were those not specifically designed for SRs, like Microsoft Word and Endnote. Their use can only be advised for small and simple SRs. <br> A well-informed selection of SR screening tools will benefit review quality and speed, which can contribute to the advancement of the 3Rs in animal studies.</p> Stevie van der Mierden, Katya Tsaioun, André Bleich, Cathalijn H. C. Leenaars ##submission.copyrightStatement## Fri, 19 Jul 2019 00:00:00 +0200 SUIKER: Quantification of antigens in cell organelles, neurites and cellular sub-structures by imaging <p>Quantification of fluorescence colocalization and intensity of strongly overlapping cells, e.g., neuronal cultures, is challenging for programs that use image segmentation to identify cells as individual objects. Moreover, learning to use and apply one of the large imaging packages can be very time- and/or resource-demanding. Therefore, we developed the free and highly interactive image analysis program SUIKER (program for SUperImposing KEy Regions) that quantifies colocalization of different proteins or other features over an entire image field. The software allows definition of cellular subareas by subtraction (“punching out”) of structures identified in one channel from structures in a second channel. This allows, e.g., definition of neurites without cell bodies. Moreover, normalization to live or total cell numbers is possible. Providing a detailed manual that contains image analysis examples, we demonstrate how the program uses a combination of colocalization information and fluorescence intensity to quantify carbohydrate-specific stains on neurites. SUIKER can import any multichannel histology or cell culture image, builds on user-guided threshold setting, batch processes large image stacks, and exports all data (including the settings, results and metadata) in flexible formats to be used in Excel.</p> Christiaan Karreman, Petra Kranaster, Marcel Leist ##submission.copyrightStatement## Fri, 19 Jul 2019 00:00:00 +0200 Imprint ##submission.copyrightStatement## Fri, 19 Jul 2019 00:00:00 +0200 EUSAAT 2019 ##submission.copyrightStatement## Fri, 19 Jul 2019 00:00:00 +0200 Cover ##submission.copyrightStatement## Fri, 19 Jul 2019 00:00:00 +0200