2022 journal article
A Population-Based Human In Vitro Approach to Quantify Inter-Individual Variability in Responses to Chemical Mixtures
Human cell-based population-wide in vitro models have been proposed as a strategy to derive chemical-specific estimates of inter-individual variability; however, the utility of this approach has not yet been tested for cumulative exposures in mixtures. This study aimed to test defined mixtures and their individual components and determine whether adverse effects of the mixtures were likely to be more variable in a population than those of the individual chemicals. The in vitro model comprised 146 human lymphoblastoid cell lines from four diverse subpopulations of European and African descent. Cells were exposed, in concentration−response, to 42 chemicals from diverse classes of environmental pollutants; in addition, eight defined mixtures were prepared from these chemicals using several exposure- or hazard-based scenarios. Points of departure for cytotoxicity were derived using Bayesian concentration−response modeling and population variability was quantified in the form of a toxicodynamic variability factor (TDVF). We found that 28 chemicals and all mixtures exhibited concentration−response cytotoxicity, enabling calculation of the TDVF. The median TDVF across test substances, for both individual chemicals or defined mixtures, ranged from a default assumption (101/2) of toxicodynamic variability in human population to >10. The data also provide a proof of principle for single-variant genome-wide association mapping for toxicity of the chemicals and mixtures, although replication would be necessary due to statistical power limitations with the current sample size. This study demonstrates the feasibility of using a set of human lymphoblastoid cell lines as an in vitro model to quantify the extent of inter-individual variability in hazardous properties of both individual chemicals and mixtures. The data show that population variability of the mixtures is unlikely to exceed that of the most variable component, and that similarity in genome-wide associations among components may be used to accrue additional evidence for grouping of constituents in a mixture for cumulative assessments.