Dose-Response Concept in Toxicology

The concept of dose-response is widely used in many biological disciplines and, in particular, in toxicology. According to Calabrese (2016), this dependency reflects the relationship between a specific dose of a particular substance and the number of those affected. In toxicology, this concept is utilized to identify the tendency to the effects of certain drugs on the functioning of individual body systems. Since there is a large classification of substances that may cause various dangerous diseases, it is customary to separate the ways in which specific toxins affect the human body depending on the degree of their effect.

Calabrese (2016) gives an example of two models – threshold and linear. The author notes that the first principle implies an acceptable entry that the concentration of non-cancer toxic chemicals can reach without causing a severe health hazard (Calabrese, 2016). Also, Calabrese (2016) mentions a linear model in which the effects of toxic substances that become cancer stimulators are observed. The difference in these two cases lies in the degree of exposure and concentration of importance, or the dose, which may or may not cause oncological diseases.

The causality criteria that need to be taken into account involve different methods for determining a positive dose-response correlation. These include the severity of a relationship, its reversibility, specificity, provability, and biological plausibility.

When using these assessment factors as an example, Mont et al. (2015) consider several ailments, including caisson disease that is expressed in dysbarism. While applying the aforementioned criteria to this illness, it is worth noting that all of its features are manifested in accordance with the existing factors – specific, low-reversible, verifiable, and plausible from a biological standpoint. Therefore, such correlative evaluation serves as a convenient estimation method.


Calabrese, E. (2016). The emergence of the dose-response concept in biology and medicine. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 17(12), 2034. Web.

Mont, M. A., Pivec, R., Banerjee, S., Issa, K., Elmallah, R. K., & Jones, L. C. (2015). High-dose corticosteroid use and risk of hip osteonecrosis: Meta-analysis and systematic literature review. The Journal of Arthroplasty, 30(9), 1506-1512. Web.