Role of biomarkers in identifying and understanding environmentally induced disease

Ellen K. Silbergeld, Devra Lee Davis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Establishing associations between environmental agents and disease presents challenges to both epidemiologists and toxicologists, particularly in cases of complex gene-environment interactions and when there is a long latency between exposure and disease. Biologic markers, physiological signals that reflect exposure, early cellular response, or inherent or acquired susceptibilities, provide a new strategy for resolving some of these problems. Biomarker research assumes that toxicant-induced diseases are progressive and that injury proceeds from entry of the toxicant into target cells, which induces subcellular biochemical events, to cell- and organ-level events that eventually induce irreversible or persistent organism dysfunction. The epidemiologic value of a biomarker lies in its ability to predict backward toward exposure and forward toward risk of clinical outcome, which is largely unknown. Research in mechanistic toxicology will advance the range of useful biomarkers in epidemiology and clinical medicine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1363-1367
Number of pages5
JournalClinical chemistry
Issue number7 II
StatePublished - 1994
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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