Biomarkers in epidemiological and toxicological nutrition research

  • G. van Poppel
  • H. Verhagen
  • B. Heinzow


Toxicological risk assessment has long been based on animal experiments and in vitro studies. Apart from the question of whether or to what extent these data can be extrapolated to humans, many of these (animal) models are not suitable for studying the effects of the low doses to which humans are frequently exposed (Henderson et al., 1989). Moreover, these models do not account for the large individual variation in sensitivity among human beings. Because of the limitations inherent in both animal experiments and in vitro studies, as well as ethical issues connected with animal experiments, interest arose many years ago in exploring exposure, early health effects and variation in sensitivity in humans based on parameters that act as indicators of effects of various xenobiotic substances in the human body (‘biomarkers’) (Jenderson et al., 1989; Harris, 1989; Shields and Harris, 1991; Hulka et al., 1990). The term biomarker is used in a broad sense to describe parameters reflecting an interaction between a biological system and a potential hazard of a chemical, biological and physical nature. The measured response may be functional, physiological, and biochemical at a cellular or molecular level. Biomarkers are used to assess exposure and the risk of possible health-related outcomes of exposure in environmental epidemiology. The concept of ‘biomarker’ covers, as such, the continuum between external exposure and the clinical manifestation of a disease, such as cancer.


Sister Chromatid Exchange Nutrition Research Individual Sensitivity Internal Exposure External Exposure 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Chapman & Hall 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • G. van Poppel
  • H. Verhagen
  • B. Heinzow

There are no affiliations available

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