Research findings on the molecular and cellular effects of dioxins suggests that the mode of action among different PCDD and PCDF compounds is broadly the same, at least among vertebrate animals. Most studies have been conducted on laboratory rodents and primates, which have traditionally been used as models to extrapolate the results to studies of potential human health effects. It has not been firmly established that the mode of action is the same in other vertebrate species or in invertebrates.
There are six main types of effects commonly ascribed to dioxins and dioxin-like compounds, all of which are exhibited in mammals, and most by other vertebrate groups. Numerous animal studies have shown that these six effects are not unique to dioxins. It has rarely been possible to demonstrate a clear cause and effect relationship between the biological responses observed in the laboratory and environmental exposures. These effects are summarized in Table 2.
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