Recombinant cell bioassay systems for the detection and relative quantitation of halogenated dioxins and related chemicals

Michael S. Denison, Bin Zhao, David S. Baston, George C. Clark, Hiroshi Murata, Dalho Han

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

91 Scopus citations


Proper epidemiological, risk assessment and exposure analysis of 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD, dioxin) and related halogenated aromatic hydrocarbons (HAHs) requires accurate measurements of these chemicals both in the species of interest and in various exposure matrices (i.e. biological, environmental, food and feed). High-resolution instrumental analysis techniques are established for these chemicals, however, these procedures are very costly and time-consuming and as such, they are impractical for large scale sampling studies (i.e. for epidemiological studies and assessment of areas with widespread contamination). Accordingly, numerous bioanalytical methods have been developed for the detection of these chemicals in extracts from a variety of matrices, the majority of which take advantage of the ability of these chemicals to activate the aromatic hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) and the AhR signal transduction pathway. Here we review the currently available in vitro AhR-based cell bioassay systems with a focus on recent recombinant reporter gene cell lines that have been developed for detection and relative quantitation of TCDD and related HAHs. Comparison of the relative sensitivities of the various cell bioassays and examples of their use in screening and analysis of environmental, biological, and food and feed samples are presented. Currently available experimental results and validation studies demonstrate the utility of these cell bioassay systems to provide a relatively rapid, accurate, and cost effective screening approach for the detection of TCDD and related HAHs in a variety of environmental, biological, food and feed samples. The availability of these cell bioassay systems will not only facilitate the large scale sampling studies needed for accurate assessment of contamination and exposure to these environmental chemicals, but they provide avenues for the identification of novel classes of TCDD-like chemicals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1123-1133
Number of pages11
Issue number5
StatePublished - Aug 8 2004


  • Ah receptor nuclear translocator
  • AhR
  • Arnt
  • aromatic hydrocarbon receptor
  • chemically activated fluorescence expression
  • chemically activated luciferase expression
  • dioxin responsive element
  • DRE
  • EGFP
  • enhanced green fluorescent protein
  • EROD

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Spectroscopy


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