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Significance of Biochemical Markers in Applied Toxicology


  1. Fernando Gil MD, PhD,
  2. Antonio F. Hernández MD, PhD

Published Online: 15 DEC 2009

DOI: 10.1002/9780470744307.gat179

General, Applied and Systems Toxicology

General, Applied and Systems Toxicology

How to Cite

Gil, F. and Hernández, A. F. 2009. Significance of Biochemical Markers in Applied Toxicology. General, Applied and Systems Toxicology. .

Author Information

  1. University of Granada, Senior Lecturer in Toxicology, Department of Legal Medicine and Toxicology, Faculty of Medicine, Spain

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 DEC 2009


The use of biological markers in the evaluation of disease risk has increased markedly in the last decades. The relationship between toxic levels of chemicals in the body and their toxic response is rather complex because it depends on several factors, including toxicokinetic and genetic aspects. Biomarkers allow the assessment of the potential interaction and impact of xenobiotics on living organisms. A biomarker was originally defined as the concentration of toxic agents, or their metabolites, in biological samples. However, the concept of biomarker has been further expanded, including those biological changes resulting from interaction between chemicals and their cellular or molecular targets, as well as genetically determined polymorphisms of enzymes involved in Phase I and II of metabolism, which are responsible for the differential susceptibility of individuals to chemical agents. This chapter discusses examples of biomarkers of exposure, effect and susceptibility and their usefulness in toxicology.


  • biochemical markers;
  • exposure;
  • toxic effects;
  • individual susceptibility;
  • disease risk