Adverse outcome pathways (AOPs) for radiationinduced reproductive effects in environmental species: state of science and identification of a consensus AOP network

Knut Erik Tollefsen, Frédéric Alonzo, Nicholas A. Beresford, Dag Anders Brede, Elizabeth Dufourcq-Sekatcheff, Rodolphe Gilbin, Nele Horemans, Selma Hurem, Patrick Laloi, Erica Maremonti, Deborah Oughton, Olivier Simon, You Song, Michael D. Wood, Li Xie, Sandrine Frelon

    Research outputpeer-review


    Background: Reproductive effects of ionizing radiation in organisms have been observed under laboratory and field conditions. Such assessments often rely on associations between exposure and effects, and thus lacking a detailed mechanistic understanding of causality between effects occurring at different levels of biological organization. The Adverse Outcome Pathway (AOP), a conceptual knowledge framework to capture, organize, evaluate and visualize the scientific knowledge of relevant toxicological effects, has the potential to evaluate the causal relationships between molecular, cellular, individual, and population effects. This paper presents the first development of a set of consensus AOPs for reproductive effects of ionizing radiation in wildlife. This work was performed by a group of experts formed during a workshop organized jointly by the Multidisciplinary European Low Dose Initiative (MELODI) and the European Radioecology Alliance (ALLIANCE) associations to present the AOP approach and tools. The work presents a series of taxon-specific case studies that were used to identify relevant empirical evidence, identify common AOP components and propose a set of consensus AOPs that could be organized into an AOP network with broader taxonomic applicability. Conclusion: Expert consultation led to the identification of key biological events and description of causal linkages between ionizing radiation, reproductive impairment and reduction in population fitness. The study characterized the knowledge domain of taxon-specific AOPs, identified knowledge gaps pertinent to reproductive-relevant AOP development and reflected on how AOPs could assist applications in radiation (radioecological) research, environmental health assessment, and radiological protection. Future advancement and consolidation of the AOPs is planned to include structured weight of evidence considerations, formalized review and critical assessment of the empirical evidence prior to formal submission and review by the OECD sponsored AOP development program.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1816-1831
    Number of pages17
    JournalInternational Journal of Radiation Biology
    Issue number12
    StatePublished - 19 Aug 2022

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