IUPAC Glossary of Terms Used in Toxicology - Terms Starting with C
Imagined perception of vile odors, including coprosmia (smelling feces) and necrosmia (the smell of death).
Form of mineralization in which organic tissue becomes hardened by deposition of calcium salts within its substance.
Operation that, under specified conditions, in a first step establishes a relation between the quantity values with measurement uncertainties provided by measurement standards and corresponding indications with associated measurement uncertainties and, in a second step, uses this information to establish a relation for obtaining a measurement result from an indication.
See reference material
carcinogen n., -ic adj.
Agent (chemical, physical or biological) which is capable of increasing the incidence of malignant neoplasms, thus causing cancer.
Note: Annex 3 describes the classification systems for carcinogens.
Long term (chronic) test designed to detect any possible carcinogenic effect of a test substance.
Chemically harmful to the cells of the heart.
- Substance in appreciable amount which, when associated with a trace of a specified substance, will carry the trace with it through a chemical or physical process.
- Person who is heterozygous, that is carries only one allele,
for a recessive genetic character leading to disease, and hence
does not, under most circumstances, display the disease phenotype
but can pass it on to the next generation.
- Gas, liquid, or solid substance (often in particulate form) used to absorb, adsorb, dilute or suspend a substance to facilitate its transfer from one medium to another.
Compound that contains a temporary linkage between a given active substance and a transient carrier group, the latter producing improved physicochemical or pharmacokinetic properties and easily removable in vivo.
- Protein to which a specific ligand or hapten is conjugated
- Unlabeled protein introduced into an assay at relatively high concentrations which distributes in a fractionation process in the same manner as labeled protein analyte, present in very low concentrations.
- Protein added to prevent nonspecific interaction of reagents with surfaces, sample components, and each other.
- Protein found in cell membranes which facilitates transport
of a ligand across the
Substance which binds to another substance and transfers it from one site to another.
- Transfer in farming and agricultural processing of a component from one system such as soil or feed to another system such as a plant, animal or human being: carry-over is expressed as the concentration of the component in the second system divided by its concentration in the first.
- Process in analytical studies by which materials are carried into a reaction mixture in which they do not belong.
- Persistence of a substance in soil, e.g., a pesticide, such that injury may occur subsequently to a new crop.
- Persistence of a test substance in participants undergoing a cross-over clinical trial study, in which each participant randomly receives the placebo and test substance with an intervening washout period.
case cohort study
Variant of the case control study in which the controls are drawn from the same cohort as the cases but are identified before the cases develop; some of the controls may later become cases.
case control study
case comparison study
case compeer study
case history study
case referent study
Study which starts with the identification of persons with the disease (or other outcome variable) of interest, and a suitable control (comparison, reference) group of persons without the disease. The relationship of an attribute to the disease is examined by comparing the diseased and non-diseased with regard to how frequently the attribute is present or, if quantitative, the levels of the attribute, in the two groups.
- Reactions involving the oxidation of organic substrates to provide chemically available energy (for example ATP) and to generate metabolic intermediates.
- Generally, process of breakdown of complex molecules into simpler ones, often providing biologically available energy.
Schizophrenia marked by excessive, and sometimes violent, motor activity and excitement, or by generalized inhibition.
Regulated biochemical steps that cells go through involving DNA replication and cell division, usually depicted as a sequential cyclical series of events.
Defined unique population of cells obtained by culture from a primary source through numerous generations.
See also transformed cell line
State in which an individual reacts with allergic effects caused by the reaction of antigen-specific T-lymphocytes following exposure to a certain substance (allergen) after having been exposed previously to the same substance or chemical group.
Rapid increase in cell number.
Cells having specific properties or markers derived from a primary culture or cell line.
Sample observations for which the complete distribution is not known: for example, a cohort study in which some persons cannot be followed to the predetermined end of the study (“right-censored data”) or environmental assay data in which some results are less than the sample detection limit (“left-censored data”).
certified reference material (CRM)
Reference material, accompanied by documentation issued by an authoritative body and referring to valid procedures used to obtain a specified property value with uncertainty and traceability.
Example: human serum with assigned quantity value for the concentration of cholesterol and associated measurement uncertainty stated in an accompanying certificate, used as calibrator or measurement trueness control material.
chain of custody
Sequence of responsibility for a substance from the manufacturer to the distributor, to the user, or to the person(s) ultimately responsible for waste disposal. This term is also used in controlled transmission of samples from collection to analysis, especially of samples of materials used for medico-legal or forensic purposes.
Sensations that arise when chemical compounds activate receptor mechanisms for other effectors, such as light, pain, pressure, and heat, in the eye, skin, nose, mouth and throat; e.g., the burning feeling from chili pepper, the cooling from the menthol in mouthwash, and the stinging feeling of carbonation.
chemical etiologic agent
See toxic substance
Change from one chemical species to another.
chemical etiologic agent
See toxic substance
chemical oxygen demand (COD)
Measure of the amount of oxygen, divided by the volume of the system, required to oxidize the organic (and inorganic) matter in wastewater using a chemically oxidizing agent. In practice, it is usually expressed in milligrams O2 per litre.
Practical certainty that there will be no exposure of organisms to toxic amounts of any substance or group of substances: this implies attaining an acceptably low risk of exposure to potentially toxic substances.
chemical species (of an element)
Specific form of an element defined as to isotopic composition, electronic or oxidation state, and (or) complex or molecular structure.
Military operations using the toxic properties of chemical agents to kill, injure or incapacitate human beings, animals, or plants.
Irrational fear of chemicals.
Chemically induced swelling around the eye caused by edema of the conjunctiva.
Substance used to sterilize mites, insects, rodents or other animals.
Acne-like eruption caused by exposure to certain chlorinated organic substances such as polychlorinated biphenyls or 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin [2,3,7,8-tetrachlorooxanthrene] and other polychlorinated dibenzo dioxins and furans.
Substance which inhibits the action of acetylcholinesterase (EC 220.127.116.11) and related enzymes which catalyse the hydrolysis of choline esters: such a substance causes hyperactivity in parasympathetic nerves.
Note: Examples include organophosphate and carbamate pesticides.
Either of two filaments joined at the centromere into which a chromosome divides as it duplicates itself during cell division.
Abnormality of chromosome number or structure.
Self-replicating structure consisting of DNA complexed with various proteins and involved in the storage and transmission of genetic information; the physical structure that contains the genes.
- In experimental toxicology, chronic refers to mammalian studies lasting considerably more than 90 days or to studies occupying a large part of the lifetime of an organism.
- In clinical medicine, long established or long lasting.
antonym acute exposure
Continued exposure or exposures occurring over an extended period of time, or a significant fraction of the test species' or of the group of individuals', or of the population's life-time.
antonym acute toxicity
- Adverse effects following chronic exposure.
- Effects which persist over a long period of time whether or not they occur immediately upon exposure or are delayed.
chronic toxicity test
long-term toxicity test
antonym acute toxicity test
Study in which organisms are observed during the greater part of the life span and in which exposure to the test agent takes place over the whole observation time or a substantial part thereof.
Study of the influence of biological rhythms on the toxicity of substances or of the influence of a toxicant on biological rhythms.
Serious illness caused by eating carnivorous fish such as snappers and barracuda that have become contaminated by toxins produced by the micro-alga, Gambierdiscus toxicus; gastrointestinal symptoms may accompany a wide variety of neurological symptoms including ataxia, vertigo, flaccid paralysis, respiratory arrest, and reversed perception of hot and cold; the neurological symptoms may persist for many years.
Relating to or exhibiting an approximately 24-hour periodicity.
circulation of substances in the
Movement of xenobiotic substances in the environment with air flow, river current, soil, water, etc.
- Liver disease defined by histological examination and characterized by increased fibrous tissue, abnormal morphological and physiological changes such as loss of functional liver cells, and increased resistance to blood flow through the liver (portal hypertension).
- Chronic interstitial inflammation and fibrosis of an organ.
Describing an organ showing cirrhosis.
Agent causing chromosome breakage and (or) consequent gain, loss or rearrangement of pieces of chromosomes.
Formation (or generation) of chromosomal breaks and (or) consequent gain, loss or rearrangement of pieces of chromosomes.
Product of the concentration co of a component in an output system and the volume flow rate of the output system divided by the concentration ci of this component in the input system.
Note: The term ‘mean volume rate’ is recommended for this quantity.
clearance (in physiology and toxicology)
- Volume of blood or plasma or mass of
an organ effectively cleared of a substance by elimination
divided by time of elimination.
Note : Total clearance is the sum of the clearances of each eliminating organ or tissue for that component
- (in pulmonary toxicology) Volume or mass of lung cleared divided by time of elimination; used qualitatively to describe removal of any inhaled substance which deposits on the lining surface of the lung.
- (in renal toxicology)
Quantification of the removal of a substance by the kidneys by
the processes of filtration and secretion; clearance is
calculated by relating the rate of renal excretion to the
cleavage (of a molecule)
Splitting of a molecule into smaller molecular entities.
Scientific study involving research, education, prevention and treatment of diseases caused by substances such as drugs and toxins.
Note: Often refers specifically to the application of toxicological principles to the treatment of human poisoning.
clon/e n., -al adj.
- Population of genetically identical cells or organisms having a common ancestor.
- To produce such a population.,
- Recombinant DNA molecules all carrying the same inserted sequence.
Pertaining to alternate muscular contraction and relaxation in rapid succession.
Small circle of DNA (e.g., a plasmid) or modified bacteriophage (bacterial virus) that can carry a segment of foreign DNA into an appropriate host organism (e.g. a bacterial, yeast or mammalian cell).
- A method of sampling in which the population is divided into aggregates (or clusters) of items bound together in a certain manner. A sample of these clusters is taken at random and all the items which constitute them are included in the sample.
- A sampling method in which each unit selected is a group of persons (all persons in a city block, a family, etc.) rather than an individual.
Chemical, physical or biological factor which intensifies the effect of a carcinogen.
Component of the population born during a particular period and identified by period of birth so that its characteristics (such as causes of death and numbers still living) can be ascertained as it enters successive time and age periods. The term “cohort” has broadened to describe any designated group of persons followed or traced over a period of time, as in the term cohort study (prospective study).
Tabulation and analysis of morbidity or mortality rates in relationship to the ages of a specific group of people (cohort), identified by their birth period, and followed as they pass through different ages during part or all of their life span. In certain circumstances such as studies of migrant populations, cohort analysis may be performed according to duration of residence in a country rather than year of birth, in order to relate health or mortality experience to duration of exposure.
Analytic study of epidemiological study in which subsets of a defined population can be identified who are, have been, or in the future may be exposed or not exposed, or exposed in different degrees, to a factor or factors hypothesized to influence the probability of occurrence of a given disease or other outcome. The main feature of the method is observation of a large population for a prolonged period (years), with comparison of incidence rates of the given disease in groups that differ in exposure levels.
Process by which a normally non-biodegradable substance is biodegraded only in the presence of an additional carbon source.
See also metabolism
Means of measuring DNA damage, particularly DNA strand breaks. A cell is embedded in agar and exposed to a DNA-damaging agent. The cell is then permeabilized with a detergent and an electric field is applied. If the cell's genomic DNA has been broken into small fragments, these fragments move out of the cell by electrophoresis and form a streak or “tail” leading away from the cell which looks like a comet.
See control group
Study of the relationship of genome structure and function across different biological species.
See relative excess risk
Conceptualized part of the body (organs, tissues, cells, or fluids) considered as an independent system for purposes of modeling and assessment of distribution and clearance of a substance.
Mathematical process leading to a model of transport of a substance in terms of compartments and rate constants, usually taking the form C = Ae-αt + Be - βt… where each exponential term represents one compartment. C is the substance concentration; A, B, … are proportionality constants; α, β, … are rate constants; and t is time.
Adaptation of an organism to changing conditions of the environment (especially chemical) is accompanied by the emergence of stresses in biochemical systems which exceed the limits of normal (homeostatic) mechanisms. Compensation is a temporary concealed pathology which later on can be manifested in the form of explicit pathological changes (decompensation).
In the context of European Community Council Directive 79/831/EEC, the Sixth Amendment to the European Community Council Directive 67/548/EEC relating to the Classification, Packaging and Labeling of Dangerous Substances, official government organization or group receiving and evaluating notifications of new substances.
Culture of bacteria (or yeast) treated in such a way that their ability to take up DNA molecules without transduction or conjugation has been enhanced.
complementary DNA (cDNA)
DNA generated from an expressed messenger RNA through a process known as reverse transcription.
Complete breakdown of a complex organic compound to carbon dioxide, water, oxides and oxidative inorganic products such as nitrate or sulfate.
comprehensive effect of poisons
Simultaneous or successive effect made on an organism by poisons entering from different media, from air, from water, from food or through the skin.
Application of mathematical and computer models to predict adverse effects and to better understand the mechanism(s) through which a given chemical causes harm.
- Any one of a group of three quantities characterizing the composition of a mixture and defined as one of mass, amount of substance (chemical amount) or number divided by volume, giving, respectively, mass, amount (of substance) or number concentration.
- Short form for amount (of substance) concentration (substance
concentration in clinical chemistry).
concord/ance n., -ant
Pairs or groups of individuals of identical phenotype.
Note: In twin studies, this is a condition in which both twins exhibit or fail to exhibit a trait under investigation.
See cohort study
Measurement and its criterion refer to the same point in time: an example would be a visual inspection of a wound for evidence of infection validated against bacteriological examination of a specimen taken at the same time.
confounding (in data analysis)
- Situation in which the effects of two processes are not distinguishable from one another: the distortion of the apparent effect of an exposure on risk brought about by the association of other factors which can influence the outcome.
- Relationship between the effects of two or more causal factors as observed in a set of data, such that it is not logically possible to separate the contribution which any single causal factor has made to an effect.
- Situation in which a measure of the effect of an exposure on risk is distorted because of the association of exposure with other factor(s) which influence the outcome under study.
Changing factor that can cause or prevent the outcome of interest, is not an intermediate variable, and is associated with the factor under investigation.
One of two or more substances related to each other by origin, structure, or function.
Trait, condition or disorder that exists in an organism from birth.
- Chemical species produced in living organisms by covalently
linking two chemical moieties from different sources.
Example; A conjugate of a xenobiotic with some group such as glutathione, sulfate or glucuronic acid, to make it soluble in water or compartmentalized within the cell.
See also phase II reaction
- Material produced by attaching two or more substances
together, e.g. a conjugate of an antibody with a
fluorochrome, or an enzyme.
Inflammation of the conjunctiva.
conservative assessment of risk
Assessment of risk which assumes the worst possible case scenario and therefore gives the highest possible value for risk: risk management decisions based on this value will maximize safety.
Extent to which a measurement corresponds to theoretical concepts (constructs) concerning the phenomenon under study; for example, if on theoretical grounds, the phenomenon should change with age, a measurement with construct validity would reflect such a change.
- Chemical which injures the target organism through physical
contact and skin absorption rather than through ingestion or
- Pesticide (herbicide) that causes injury to only the plant
tissue to which it is applied or which is not appreciably
translocated within plants.
Process by which possible release, discharge or spill of a toxic substance during normal use or after an accident is prevented by appropriate action.
- Minor impurity present in a substance.
- Extraneous material inadvertently added to a sample prior to or during chemical or biological analysis
- In some contexts, as in relation to gas cleaning equipment, used as a synonym for “pollutant”, especially on a small scale.
- Unintended component in food that may pose a hazard to the consumer.
Extent to which the measurement incorporates the domain of the phenomenon under study; for example, a measurement of functional health status should embrace activities of daily living, occupational, family, and social functioning, etc.
Any condition which renders some particular line of treatment improper or undesirable.
Selected subjects of study, identified as a rule before a study is done, which comprises humans, animals, or other species who do not have the disease, intervention, procedure or whatever is being studied, but in all other respects are as nearly identical to the test group as possible.
Control (individual or group or case) selected to be similar to a study individual or group, or case, in specific characteristics: some commonly used matching variables are age, sex, race and socio-economic status.
convection (as applied to air and water
Predominantly vertical motion of air or of water, induced by the expansion of the air or of water heated by the earth’s surface, or by human activity, and its resulting buoyancy.
Quality rating, based on standard evaluation criteria established by the US Office of Pesticide Programs regulatory agencies, given to toxicological studies after submission by registrants.
Causing a surface-destructive effect on contact; in toxicology, this normally means causing visible destruction of the skin, eyes, or the lining of the respiratory tract or the gastrointestinal tract.
count mean diameter
Mean of the diameters of all particles in a population.
See also mass mean diameter
count median diameter
Calculated diameter in a population of particles in a gas or liquid phase above which there are as many particles with larger diameters as there are particles below it with smaller diameters.
See also mass mean diameter
Abnormal respiratory sounds heard on auscultation of the chest, produced by passage of air through passages which contain secretion or exudate or which are constricted by spasm or a thickening of their walls; also referred to as rhonchi.
Note: Auscultation is the process of listening for sounds within the body by ear unassisted or using a stethoscope.
criteri/on (pl. -a)
Validated set of data used as a basis for judgment.
Extent to which the measurement correlates with an external criterion of the phenomenon under study.
For deterministic effects, the first adverse effect which appears when the threshold (critical) concentration or dose is reached in the critical organ: adverse effects with no defined threshold concentration are regarded as critical.
critical organ (in toxicology)
Organ which first attains the critical concentration of a substance and exhibits the critical effect under specified circumstances of exposure and for a given population.
critical organ concentration (of a
Mean concentration of a substance in the critical organ at the time the substance reaches its critical concentration in the most sensitive type of cell in the organ.
critical period (of development)
Stage of development of an organism, e.g., organogenesis in the fetus, that is of particular importance in the life cycle if the normal full development of some anatomical, physiological, metabolic, or psychological structure or function is to be attained.
See odds ratio
cross-sectional study (of disease prevalence
disease frequency survey
Study that examines the relationship between diseases (or other health-related characteristics) and other variables of interest as they exist in a defined population at one particular time.
Note: Disease prevalence rather than incidence is normally recorded in a cross-sectional study and the temporal sequence of cause and effect cannot necessarily be determined.
cumulative death rate
Proportion of a defined group that die within the specified time period (e.g., month, year).
Note: It may refer to all deaths or to deaths from a specific cause or specific causes.
Number or proportion of individuals in a group who experience the onset of a health-related event during a specified time interval.
Note: This interval is generally the same for all members of the group, but, as in lifetime incidence, it may vary from person to person without reference to age.
cumulative median lethal dose
Estimate of the total administered amount of a substance which is associated with the death of half a population of animals when the substance is administered repeatedly in doses which are generally fractions of the median lethal dose.
- Probability of a common harmful effect associated with concurrent exposure by all relevant pathways and routes of exposure to a group of substances that share a common chemical mechanism of toxicity.
- Total probability of a harmful effect over time.
Pertaining to the skin.
Compounds able to produce cyanide.
Examples: Cyanogenic glycosides such as amygdalin in peach and apricot stones.
Bluish coloration, especially of the skin and mucous membranes and fingernail beds, caused by abnormally large amounts of reduced hemoglobin in the blood vessels as a result of deficient oxygenation.
Toxin produced by Cyanobacteria, sometimes called bluegreen algae.
Note: Examples are microcystin and cylindrospermin.
cyclo-oxygenase specific inhibitors
Substances, such as aspirin and ibuprofen, which block the activity of cyclo-oxygenase (COX), an enzyme that is responsible for the formation of prostanoids (including prostaglandins, prostacyclin and thromboxane); inhibition of COX can provide relief from inflammation and pain.
Inactive derivative of cytochrome P-450 found in microsomal (see microsome) preparations.
Obsolete term for cytochrome P-450 I, A1, and A2, one of the major families of the cytochromes P-450 hemoproteins.
Note: During the mono-oxygenation of certain substances, often a detoxification process, these iso-enzymes may produce intermediates which can initiate mutations, cancer, immunotoxic reactions and adverse effects.
cytochrome P-450 (CYP)
Member of a superfamily of heme-containing mono-oxygenases involved in xenobiotic metabolism, cholesterol biosynthesis, and steroidogenesis, in eukaryotic organisms found mainly in the endoplasmic reticulum and inner mitochondrial membrane of cells. ‘P-450’ refers to the observation that a solution of this enzyme exposed to carbon monoxide strongly absorbs light at a wavelength of 450nm compared with the unexposed solution, (a difference spectrum caused by a thiolate in the axial position of the heme opposite to the carbon monoxide ligand).
Any of a group of soluble proteins that are released by a cell causing a change in function or development of the same cell (autocrine), an adjacent cell (paracrine), or a distant cell (endocrine); cytokines are involved in reproduction, growth and development, normal homeostatic regulation, response to injury and repair, blood clotting, and host resistance (immunity and tolerance).
Fundamental substance or matrix of the cell (within the plasma membrane) which surrounds the nucleus, endoplasmic reticulum, mitochondria and other organelles.