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Event: 1392

Key Event Title

The KE title should describe a discrete biological change that can be measured. It should generally define the biological object or process being measured and whether it is increased, decreased, or otherwise definably altered relative to a control state. For example “enzyme activity, decreased”, “hormone concentration, increased”, or “growth rate, decreased”, where the specific enzyme or hormone being measured is defined. More help

Oxidative Stress

Short name
The KE short name should be a reasonable abbreviation of the KE title and is used in labelling this object throughout the AOP-Wiki. The short name should be less than 80 characters in length. More help
Oxidative Stress

Biological Context

Structured terms, selected from a drop-down menu, are used to identify the level of biological organization for each KE. Note, KEs should be defined within a particular level of biological organization. Only KERs should be used to transition from one level of organization to another. Selection of the level of biological organization defines which structured terms will be available to select when defining the Event Components (below). More help

Cell term

Further information on Event Components and Biological Context may be viewed on the attached pdf.The biological context describes the location/biological environment in which the event takes place.  For molecular/cellular events this would include the cellular context (if known), organ context, and species/life stage/sex for which the event is relevant. For tissue/organ events cellular context is not applicable.  For individual/population events, the organ context is not applicable. More help

Organ term

Further information on Event Components and Biological Context may be viewed on the attached pdf.The biological context describes the location/biological environment in which the event takes place.  For molecular/cellular events this would include the cellular context (if known), organ context, and species/life stage/sex for which the event is relevant. For tissue/organ events cellular context is not applicable.  For individual/population events, the organ context is not applicable. More help

Key Event Components

Further information on Event Components and Biological Context may be viewed on the attached pdf.Because one of the aims of the AOP-KB is to facilitate de facto construction of AOP networks through the use of shared KE and KER elements, authors are also asked to define their KEs using a set of structured ontology terms (Event Components). In the absence of structured terms, the same KE can readily be defined using a number of synonymous titles (read by a computer as character strings). In order to make these synonymous KEs more machine-readable, KEs should also be defined by one or more “event components” consisting of a biological process, object, and action with each term originating from one of 22 biological ontologies (Ives, et al., 2017; See List). Biological process describes dynamics of the underlying biological system (e.g., receptor signalling). The biological object is the subject of the perturbation (e.g., a specific biological receptor that is activated or inhibited). Action represents the direction of perturbation of this system (generally increased or decreased; e.g., ‘decreased’ in the case of a receptor that is inhibited to indicate a decrease in the signalling by that receptor).Note that when editing Event Components, clicking an existing Event Component from the Suggestions menu will autopopulate these fields, along with their source ID and description. To clear any fields before submitting the event component, use the 'Clear process,' 'Clear object,' or 'Clear action' buttons. If a desired term does not exist, a new term request may be made via Term Requests. Event components may not be edited; to edit an event component, remove the existing event component and create a new one using the terms that you wish to add. More help

Key Event Overview

AOPs Including This Key Event

All of the AOPs that are linked to this KE will automatically be listed in this subsection. This table can be particularly useful for derivation of AOP networks including the KE. Clicking on the name of the AOP will bring you to the individual page for that AOP. More help
AOP Name Role of event in AOP Point of Contact Author Status OECD Status
Cyp2E1 Activation Leading to Liver Cancer KeyEvent Francina Webster (send email) Open for citation & comment EAGMST Under Review
Oxidative stress and Developmental impairment in learning and memory KeyEvent Marie-Gabrielle Zurich (send email) Under development: Not open for comment. Do not cite EAGMST Under Review
Oxidative stress in chronic kidney disease KeyEvent Frederic Y. Bois (send email) Under development: Not open for comment. Do not cite
TLR9 activation leading to ARDS and MOD KeyEvent Gillina Bezemer (send email) Under development: Not open for comment. Do not cite
Oxidative stress [MIE] Leading to Decreased Lung Function [AO] MolecularInitiatingEvent Karsta Luettich (send email) Open for comment. Do not cite


This is a structured field used to identify specific agents (generally chemicals) that can trigger the KE. Stressors identified in this field will be linked to the KE in a machine-readable manner, such that, for example, a stressor search would identify this as an event the stressor can trigger. NOTE: intermediate or downstream KEs in one AOP may function as MIEs in other AOPs, meaning that stressor information may be added to the KE description, even if it is a downstream KE in the pathway currently under development.Information concerning the stressors that may trigger an MIE can be defined using a combination of structured and unstructured (free-text) fields. For example, structured fields may be used to indicate specific chemicals for which there is evidence of an interaction relevant to this MIE. By linking the KE description to a structured chemical name, it will be increasingly possible to link the MIE to other sources of chemical data and information, enhancing searchability and inter-operability among different data-sources and knowledgebases. The free-text section “Evidence for perturbation of this MIE by stressor” can be used both to identify the supporting evidence for specific stressors triggering the MIE as well as to define broad chemical categories or other properties that classify the stressors able to trigger the MIE for which specific structured terms may not exist. More help

Taxonomic Applicability

Latin or common names of a species or broader taxonomic grouping (e.g., class, order, family) can be selected from an ontology. In many cases, individual species identified in these structured fields will be those for which the strongest evidence used in constructing the AOP was available in relation to this KE. More help
Term Scientific Term Evidence Link
rodents rodents High NCBI
Homo sapiens Homo sapiens High NCBI

Life Stages

The structured ontology terms for life-stage are more comprehensive than those for taxa, but may still require further description/development and explanation in the free text section. More help
Life stage Evidence
All life stages High

Sex Applicability

The authors must select from one of the following: Male, female, mixed, asexual, third gender, hermaphrodite, or unspecific. More help
Term Evidence
Mixed High

Key Event Description

A description of the biological state being observed or measured, the biological compartment in which it is measured, and its general role in the biology should be provided. For example, the biological state being measured could be the activity of an enzyme, the expression of a gene or abundance of an mRNA transcript, the concentration of a hormone or protein, neuronal activity, heart rate, etc. The biological compartment may be a particular cell type, tissue, organ, fluid (e.g., plasma, cerebrospinal fluid), etc. The role in the biology could describe the reaction that an enzyme catalyses and the role of that reaction within a given metabolic pathway; the protein that a gene or mRNA transcript codes for and the function of that protein; the function of a hormone in a given target tissue, physiological function of an organ, etc. Careful attention should be taken to avoid reference to other KEs, KERs or AOPs. Only describe this KE as a single isolated measurable event/state. This will ensure that the KE is modular and can be used by other AOPs, thereby facilitating construction of AOP networks. More help

Oxidative stress is defined as an imbalance in the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and antioxidant defenses. High levels of oxidizing free radicals can be very damaging to cells and molecules within the cell.  As a result, the cell has important defense mechanisms to protect itself from ROS. For example, Nrf2 is a transcription factor and master regulator of the oxidative stress response. During periods of oxidative stress, Nrf2-dependent changes in gene expression are important in regaining cellular homeostasis (Nguyen, et al. 2009) and can be used as indicators of the presence of oxidative stress in the cell.

In addition to the directly damaging actions of ROS, cellular oxidative stress also changes cellular activities on a molecular level. Redox sensitive proteins have altered physiology in the presence and absence of ROS, which is caused by the oxidation of sulfhydryls to disulfides (2SH àSS) on neighboring amino acids (Antelmann and Helmann 2011). Importantly Keap1, the negative regulator of Nrf2, is regulated in this manner (Itoh, et al. 2010).

Protection against oxidative stress is relevant for all tissues and organs, although some tissues may be more susceptible. For example, the brain possesses several key physiological features, such as high O2 utilization, high polyunsaturated fatty acids content, presence of autooxidable neurotransmitters, and low antioxidant defenses as compared to other organs, that make it highly susceptible to oxidative stress (Halliwell, 2006; Emerit and al., 2004; Frauenberger et al., 2016).

How It Is Measured or Detected

One of the primary considerations in evaluating AOPs is the relevance and reliability of the methods with which the KEs can be measured. The aim of this section of the KE description is not to provide detailed protocols, but rather to capture, in a sentence or two, per method, the type(s) of measurements that can be employed to evaluate the KE and the relative level of scientific confidence in those measurements. Methods that can be used to detect or measure the biological state represented in the KE should be briefly described and/or cited. These can range from citation of specific validated test guidelines, citation of specific methods published in the peer reviewed literature, or outlines of a general protocol or approach (e.g., a protein may be measured by ELISA).Key considerations regarding scientific confidence in the measurement approach include whether the assay is fit for purpose, whether it provides a direct or indirect measure of the biological state in question, whether it is repeatable and reproducible, and the extent to which it is accepted in the scientific and/or regulatory community. Information can be obtained from the OECD Test Guidelines website and the EURL ECVAM Database Service on Alternative Methods to Animal Experimentation (DB-ALM). ?

Oxidative Stress. Direct measurement of ROS is difficult because ROS are unstable. The presence of ROS can be assayed indirectly by measurement of cellular antioxidants, or by ROS-dependent cellular damage:

-    Detection of ROS by chemiluminescence (

-    Detection of ROS by chemiluminescence is also described in OECD TG 495 to assess phototoxic potential.

-    Glutathione (GSH) depletion. GSH can be measured by assaying the ratio of reduced to oxidized glutathione (GSH:GSSG) using a commercially available kit (e.g., 

-    TBARS. Oxidative damage to lipids can be measured by assaying for lipid peroxidation using TBARS (thiobarbituric acid reactive substances) using a commercially available kit. 

-    8-oxo-dG. Oxidative damage to nucleic acids can be assayed by measuring 8-oxo-dG adducts (for which there are a number of ELISA based commercially available kits),or  HPLC, described in Chepelev et al. (Chepelev, et al. 2015).

Molecular Biology: Nrf2. Nrf2’s transcriptional activity is controlled post-translationally by oxidation of Keap1. Assay for Nrf2 activity include: -    Immunohistochemistry for increases in Nrf2 protein levels and translocation into the nucleus; 

-    Western blot for increased Nrf2 protein levels; 

-    Western blot of cytoplasmic and nuclear fractions to observe translocation of Nrf2 protein from the cytoplasm to the nucleus; 

-    qPCR of Nrf2 target genes (e.g., Nqo1, Hmox-1, Gcl, Gst, Prx, TrxR, Srxn), or by commercially available pathway-based qPCR array (e.g., oxidative stress array from SABiosciences);

-    Whole transcriptome profiling by microarray or RNA-seq followed by pathway analysis (in IPA, DAVID, metacore, etc.) for enrichment of the Nrf2 oxidative stress response pathway (e.g., Jackson et al. 2014);

-    OECD TG422D describes an ARE-Nrf2 Luciferase test method;

-    In general, there are a variety of commercially available colorimetric or fluorescent kits for detecting Nrf2 activation.

Domain of Applicability

This free text section should be used to elaborate on the scientific basis for the indicated domains of applicability and the WoE calls (if provided). While structured terms may be selected to define the taxonomic, life stage and sex applicability (see structured applicability terms, above) of the KE, the structured terms may not adequately reflect or capture the overall biological applicability domain (particularly with regard to taxa). Likewise, the structured terms do not provide an explanation or rationale for the selection. The free-text section on evidence for taxonomic, life stage, and sex applicability can be used to elaborate on why the specific structured terms were selected, and provide supporting references and background information.  More help

Oxidative stress is produced in, and can occur in, any species from bacteria through to humans.

Evidence for Perturbation by Stressor

Overview for Molecular Initiating Event

When a specific MIE can be defined (i.e., the molecular target and nature of interaction is known), in addition to describing the biological state associated with the MIE, how it can be measured, and its taxonomic, life stage, and sex applicability, it is useful to list stressors known to trigger the MIE and provide evidence supporting that initiation. This will often be a list of prototypical compounds demonstrated to interact with the target molecule in the manner detailed in the MIE description to initiate a given pathway (e.g., 2,3,7,8-TCDD as a prototypical AhR agonist; 17α-ethynyl estradiol as a prototypical ER agonist). Depending on the information available, this could also refer to chemical categories (i.e., groups of chemicals with defined structural features known to trigger the MIE). Known stressors should be included in the MIE description, but it is not expected to include a comprehensive list. Rather initially, stressors identified will be exemplary and the stressor list will be expanded over time. For more information on MIE, please see pages 32-33 in the User Handbook.


List of the literature that was cited for this KE description. Ideally, the list of references, should conform, to the extent possible, with the OECD Style Guide ( (OECD, 2015). More help

Antelmann, H., Helmann, J.D., 2011. Thiol-based redox switches and gene regulation. Antioxid. Redox Signal. 14, 1049-1063.

Chepelev, N.L., Kennedy, D.A., Gagne, R., White, T., Long, A.S., Yauk, C.L., White, P.A., 2015. HPLC Measurement of the DNA Oxidation Biomarker, 8-oxo-7,8-dihydro-2'-deoxyguanosine, in Cultured Cells and Animal Tissues. J. Vis. Exp. (102):e52697. doi, e52697.

Emerit, J., Edeas, M., Bricaire, F., 2004. Neurodegenerative diseases and oxidative stress. Biomed. Pharmacotherapy. 58(1): 39-46.

Frauenberger, E.A., Scola, G., Laliberté, V.L.M., Duong, A., Andreazza, A.C., 2015. Redox modulations, Antioxidants, and Neuropsychitrica Disorders. Ox. Med. Cell. Longevity. Vol. 2016, Article ID 4729192.

Halliwell, B., 2006. Oxidative stress and neurodegeneration: where are we now? J. Neurochem. 97(6):1634-1658.

Itoh, K., Mimura, J., Yamamoto, M., 2010. Discovery of the negative regulator of Nrf2, Keap1: a historical overview. Antioxid. Redox Signal. 13, 1665-1678.

Jackson, A.F., Williams, A., Recio, L., Waters, M.D., Lambert, I.B., Yauk, C.L., 2014. Case study on the utility of hepatic global gene expression profiling in the risk assessment of the carcinogen furan. Toxicol. Applied Pharmacol.274, 63-77.

Nguyen, T., Nioi, P., Pickett, C.B., 2009. The Nrf2-antioxidant response element signaling pathway and its activation by oxidative stress. J. Biol. Chem. 284, 13291-13295.

OECD (2018), Test No. 442D: In Vitro Skin Sensitisation: ARE-Nrf2 Luciferase Test Method, OECD Guidelines for the Testing of Chemicals, Section 4, OECD Publishing, Paris,

OECD (2019), Test No. 495: Ros (Reactive Oxygen Species) Assay for Photoreactivity, OECD Guidelines for the Testing of Chemicals, Section 4, OECD Publishing, Paris,