In an article published on February 6, 2019, European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) informed about a special issue of the peer-reviewed journal Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology dedicated to alternative approaches in developmental neurotoxicity (DNT) testing. The issue, featuring 18 articles, was co-edited by Anna Bal-Price from the JRC and Ellen Fritsche from the Leibniz Research Institute for Environmental Medicine located in Düsseldorf, Germany. Both editors call “for more effective DNT testing for better protection of pregnant women, infants and children exposed to environmental chemicals.”

DNT scientists have reached a consensus that there is a “need for a new framework for assessing chemicals that may cause . . . DNT effects.” They “recommend the development of a standardized in vitro test battery using human derived cell and tissue models to detect the effects chemicals might have on key stages of human brain development.” In addition, complementary models such as zebrafish can be used, for example, when looking at “behavioral changes induced by DNT.” Further, adverse outcome pathways (AOPs) should be developed “to increase scientific confidence in the mechanistic understanding of the sequence of key events underpinning DNT effects” and “to build computational models for rapid chemical structure-based screening.” Then, the in vitro and computational methods could “be combined within Integrated Approaches to Testing and Assessment (IATA) to provide fit-for-purpose assessments serving various regulated sectors.”

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JRC (February 6, 2019). “Special issue on testing chemicals for developmental neurotoxicity using alternative methods.

Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology (September 1, 2018). “Alternative approaches to developmental neurotoxicity  evaluation.Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology 354: 1-224.

OECD (2018). “Adverse outcome pathways, molecular screening and toxicogenomics.

OECD (2018). “Integrated Approaches to Testing and Assessment (IATA).


Anna Bal-Price and Ellen Fritsche (2018). “Editorial: Developmental neurotoxicity.Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology 354: 1-2.

Fritsche, E., et al. (2018). “Consensus statement on the need for innovation, transition and implementation of developmental neurotoxicity (DNT) testing for regulatory purposes.Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology 354: 3-6.

Bal-Price, A., et al. (2018). “Strategies to improve the regulatory assessment of developmental neurotoxicity (DNT) using in vitro methods.Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology 354: 7-18.

Harrill, J., et al. (2018). “Testing for developmental neurotoxicity using a battery of in vitro assays for key cellular events in neurodevelopment.Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology 354: 24-39.

Geier, M., et al. (2018). “Systematic developmental neurotoxicity assessment of a representative PAH Superfund mixture using zebrafish.Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology 354: 115-125.

Sachana, M., et al. (2018). “Development of the Adverse Outcome Pathway (AOP): Chronic binding of antagonist to N-methyl-d-aspartate receptors (NMDARs) during brain development induces impairment of learning and memory abilities of children.Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology 354: 153-175.

Terron, A., and Bennekou, S. H. (2018). “Towards a regulatory use of alternative developmental neurotoxicity testing (DNT).Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology 354: 19-23.