MINI REVIEW
Descriptions and Explanations of the Embryonic Stem Cell Test (EST)

Koichi Imai

Department of Biomaterials, Osaka Dental University. Osaka, Japan

AATEX 16(1):9-15, 2011

In 1997. Spielmann et al. developed the embryonic stem cell test (EST), which is an in vitro embryotoxicity test method that can be used to estimate the risk of embryotoxicity of chemical substances relatively quickly compared to the conventional methods that involve animal experiments. The EST has been evaluated in a formal validation study funded by the ECVAM (European Centre for the Validation of Alternative Methods) in which two other in vitro embryotoxicity tests (micromass test, whole embryo culture test) were validated against a set of test chemicals characterized by high levels of in vivo embryotoxicity data in laboratory animals and humans. In a validation study in Europe, the EST was found to be reproducible, demonstrating an overall accuracy of 80% and 100% correct prediction of strong embryotoxicity for chemicals studied under blind conditions.
The EST protocol holds promise as a screening assay based on the most important mechanisms in embryotoxicity, cytotoxicity and differentiation, as well on differences in sensitivity between adult and embryonic tissues.

key words: embryonic stem cell test, EST, embryotoxicity

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(AATEX: Altern. Animal Test. EXperiment.: Alternatives to Animal Testing and EXperimentation)