acute toxicity: the short-term effects of a one-time exposure to a chemical substance.
alternatives: methods that refine existing tests to minimize animal distress, reduce the number of animals needed for an experiment, or replace whole-animal tests.
assessment of exposure: an estimate of the number of people who will be exposed to a chemical, along with the concentration, duration and terms of the exposure.
battery: a group of tests that measures different levels of toxicity in a particular organ or system.
biochemicals: chemicals produced by living organisms.
carcinogenicity: ability of a chemical to cause or promote cancer.
chemical bank: a stock of pure chemicals that investigators use for research and validation studies.
chronic toxicity: effects of repeated or long-term exposure to a substance.
cognitive: brain functions related to sense perception or understanding.
culture: growth of living cells or microorganisms in a controlled, artificial environment.
cytotoxicity: measurement of a chemical's ability to damage or kill cells.
database: a computerized collection of information.
dissection: to cut apart for scientific examination, usually in reference to the study of animals or humans.
endpoint: in toxicology, a quantifiable biological change or effect caused by a toxic process. Also refers to the point in an animal experiment when no more information can be obtained and the experiment is stopped.
exposure-response relationship: the connection between the amount of a chemical administered and a specific toxic effect in the organism, also called the dose-response relationship.
etiology: the study of the cause and/or origin of a disease.
fibroblast: a connective tissue cell found throughout the body.
immortalization: process by which cells in a culture can replicate indefinitely, usually through the introduction of a gene into the cell's DNA.
in vitro testing: Studies done with cells or tissues cultured in petri dishes. "In vitro" is latin for "in glass."
in vivo testing: Studies done in the living animal. "In vivo" means "in life."
metabolite: a chemical produced in the body following the absorption and processing of a parent chemical.
microtiter plates: plastic dishes that are divided into compartments and used for culturing and testing cells in a variety of conditions.
mutagenicity: measurement of a chemical's ability to cause changes in genetic material.
peer-reviewed journals: scientific periodicals in which submissions are reviewed and selected for publication by panels of experts in the field.
perfusion: pumping of blood or artificial media through the blood vessels of an isolated organ for the purpose of nourishment.
phototoxicity: the ability of sunlight to activate or enhance a substance's tendency to kill skin cells.
protocols: a schedule of scientific investigation; an experimental procedure or series of such procedures.
reference laboratories: an element in the proposed framework for validation; designated sites where previously developed in vitro tests are evaluated under identical experimental conditions, using chemicals from a chemical bank and cells or tissues from a test bank, with test results entered in an official data bank.
risk assessment: the process of calculating the toxic effects of an exposure to a chemical substance and determining the potential uses of the substance.
surrogate responsibility: a concept developed by Carney and Bartlett to describe the relationship between humans and ecosystems, as well as between scientists and laboratory animals. Surrogate responsibility assumes that the human role is one of stewardship, rather than ownership, although it does recognize the right of humans to use animals for scientific research if standards of humane care and treatment are met.
teratogenicity: the ability of a chemical substance to cause malformations in a human or animal fetus.
tissue slices: an in vitro technique in which tissue is cut into thin and uniform slices so that the architecture of the organ is preserved, with all the cell types present. In most cases, tissue slices are viable for a few hours or, at most, a few days.
toxicity testing: In vivo or in vitro experiments designed to reveal a chemical's toxic potential in order to determine the potential uses (or danger of use) for the substance; an aspect of risk assessment.
toxicodynamics: alterations in a biological system resulting from exposure to chemicals.
toxicokinetics: the absorption, distribution, metabolism, storage, and excretion of chemicals.
toxicology: the study of how chemicals interact with and affect people, animals, and the environment.
transfection: introduction of a foreign gene (DNA) into a cell's genome.
vivisection: originally the surgical cutting of a living animal in scientific research; often used today as a synonym for any type of animal experimentation.