Toxicology

Toxicology is the scientific study of adverse effects that occur in living organisms due to chemicals. It involves observing and reporting symptoms, mechanisms, detection and treatments of toxic substances, in particular relation to the poisoning of humans.

  • “Personalized Tumor Therapy” at Fraunhofer ITEM – project group will become an institute division

    Isolation of a single disseminated cancer cell by micromanipulation. Knowledge about the characteristics of such a single cell provides the basis for development of more effective systemic therapies. Photo: Ralf Mohr; Fraunhofer ITEM

    (Hannover, Germany) The Fraunhofer Project Group for Personalized Tumor Therapy will become a division of the Fraunhofer Institute for Toxicology and Experimental Medicine ITEM in Hannover as of January 2017 and will thus be included in the financing model of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. The project group was founded in December 2010 as a research collaboration between the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, the Land of Bavaria, and the University of Regensburg. During the past five years, the team of scientists in Regensburg has been organizationally attached to the Fraunhofer ITEM in Hannover, funded by the Bavarian government.

  • Beethoven’s Saturnism Conundrum Solved: High Lead Levels in Hair and Low Levels in Bones Result From Micro and Nano Sized Lead Particle Uptake

    Figure 1: (A) Distribution of the particular matter into the follicles in a schematic presentation. (B) Particle size determines deposition in lung and penetration depth in hair follicle. In hair follicles penetration is highest for particles of a size ~ 643 nm with a depth of ~ 1200 µm.
     

    In this article the authors (Luthe and Bischoff, 2020) connect recent findings in nano-toxicology with the investigations in Ludwig van Beethoven’s supposed saturnism. Namely, contradicting measurements of lead concentration in Beethoven’s hair and bone cannot be explained by the current hypothesis discussed among scientists. This mismatch may be called the key to the conundrum. It is also of broader interest to toxicologists, as the circumstances of Beethoven’s poisoning elucidate a general issue of particle uptake and resulting effects, which is quite neglected until now. They suggest that lead containing micro- and nanoparticles, i.e. lead oxides and acetate are the basis for the contradicting lead levels. The different portal of entry discriminates the concentrations in the bones when compared to the hair follicles. The authors also consider the source for these ultrafine lead-containing particles in Beethoven’s environment, and propose a complete explanation for his saturnism. 

  • Nanomaterialien und andere neuartige Werkstoffe

    Bundesinstitut für Risikobewertung

    Nanomaterialien und andere neuartige Werkstoffe anwendungssicher und umweltverträglich entwickeln und nutzen - Bundesbehörden schreiben gemeinsame Forschungsstrategie "Nanotechnologie - Gesundheits- und Umweltrisiken von Nanomaterialien" fort

  • Nanoparticle Exposure Can Awaken Dormant Viruses in the Lungs

    Nanoparticles from combustion engines (shown here) can activate viruses that are dormant in in lung tissue.  Source: Helmholtz Zentrum München

    Nanoparticles from combustion engines can activate viruses that are dormant in in lung tissue cells. This is the result of a study by researchers of Helmholtz Zentrum München, a partner in the German Center for Lung Research (DZL), which has now been published in the journal ‘Particle and Fibre Toxicology’.

    To evade the immune system, some viruses hide in cells of their host and persist there. In medical terminology, this state is referred to as a latent infection. If the immune system becomes weakened or if certain conditions change, the viruses become active again, begin to proliferate and destroy the host cell. A team of scientists led by Dr. Tobias Stöger of the Institute of Lung Biology and Prof. Dr. Heiko Adler, deputy head of the research unit Lung Repair and Regeneration at Helmholtz Zentrum München, now report that nanoparticles can also trigger this process.

  • Predictable genetic interactions

    Lead author Mato Lagator in the lab preparing E.coli bacteria to test the interactions between mutations. IST Austria/Lisa Cichocki

    Researchers at IST Austria develop a model to predict how genetic interactions impact gene expression for the first time│ Study published in eLife. Even though we know the sequence of the entire human genome, scientist cannot determine what a particular person will look like. Part of the reason why we cannot read a genome like a book is because the genes, and individual base pairs within genes, interact with each other in many ways. This makes it hard to predict what different genetic combinations will result in.

  • Professor Gregor Luthe: Prefers Gronau instead of Berkeley

    Gregor Luthe: The former stutterer and pupil from a special needs school is a researcher today and prefers to work in Gronau instead of being a professor in Berkeley or Hawaii. Photo: Jürgen Peperhowe

    Gronau, Germany: There is a wooden child's bed built like a Viking ship in the winter garden of his office- including a red-white sail, a steering wheel and a horse's head. Everything made by himself. A gleaming mahogany table can be found within his office. It is dark brown and sufficient for more than 20 people. Also restored by himself. Next to the office door you will walk straight into a laboratory where two scientists are busy working with bulbs and an agitating machine. Financed by himself. Gregor Luthe surely was one of those kids whose first word was “himself”.

  • Quantifying the chemical effects of air pollutants on oxidative stress and human health

    The new model provides a quantitative basis for assessing the importance of air pollutants in different regions of the world such as the mega city Guangzhou, China, during a smog event.   Ulrich Pöschl, MPI for Chemistry

    New computer model provides exposure-response relationship between air pollutants and reactive oxygen species in the epithelial lining fluid of the human respiratory tract