REVIEW PAPER
 
KEYWORDS
TOPICS
ABSTRACT
Introduction:
Median lethal dose (MLD) has been a controversial subject among biologists and animal ethicists since its inception in 1927 by Trevan. Toxicologists use MLD (LD50) as the first step to assess the toxicity of a substance. Animal ethicists criticize LD50 tests because animals suffer pain, and LD50 is irreproducible. The disadvantage of classifying chemicals based on LD50, the importance of the ‘characteristics’ proposed by Trevan, and the ideal mortality range for determining the best estimate of LD50 are also discussed.

Objective:
The aim of this review was to understand Trevan’s concept of LD50 and the method of Litchfield and Wilcoxon (L and W), and Finney’s probit analysis for LD50 determination

Materials and method:
A literature survey was conducted using Google search and Pubmed. Simulated data set was used for identifying the ideal mortality range for calculating the ‘best estimate’ of LD50.

Brief description of the state of knowledge:
After Trevan, the extensively used classical methods for LD50 determination are Finney’s probit analysis and the L and W method. Animal ethicists questioned LD50, because of its irreproducibility. Presently used methods for LD50 tests do not provide information on the dose-response, hence assessing the complete spectrum of toxicity is not possible. However, LD50 is used to classify chemicals.

Conclusions:
'The 'characteristic' is more specific than the slope or LD50 of a dose-response curve. LD50 does not manifest the exact nature of the toxicity of a substance; hence, classifying chemicals based on LD50s may have little relevance

 
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