Primary Human Hepatocyte Spheroids as Tools to Study the Hepatotoxic Potential of Non-Pharmaceutical Chemicals.

Drug-induced liver injury, including cholestasis, is an important clinical issue and economic burden for pharmaceutical industry and healthcare systems. However, human-relevant in vitro information on the ability of other types of chemicals to induce cholestatic hepatotoxicity is lacking. This work aimed at investigating the cholestatic potential of non-pharmaceutical chemicals using primary human hepatocytes cultured in 3D spheroids. Spheroid cultures were repeatedly (co-) exposed to drugs (cyclosporine-A, bosentan, macitentan) or non-pharmaceutical chemicals (paraquat, tartrazine, triclosan) and a concentrated mixture of bile acids for 4 weeks. Cell viability (adenosine triphosphate content) was checked every week and used to calculate the cholestatic index, an indicator of cholestatic liability. Microarray analysis was performed at specific time-points to verify the deregulation of genes related to cholestasis, steatosis and fibrosis. Despite the evident inter-donor variability, shorter exposures to cyclosporine-A consistently produced cholestatic index values below 0.80 with transcriptomic data partially supporting its cholestatic burden. Bosentan confirmed to be hepatotoxic, while macitentan was not toxic in the tested concentrations. Prolonged exposure to paraquat suggested fibrotic potential, while triclosan markedly deregulated genes involved in different types of hepatotoxicity. These results support the applicability of primary human hepatocyte spheroids to study hepatotoxicity of non-pharmaceutical chemicals in vitro.

  • Authors: Vânia Vilas-Boas, Eva Gijbels, Kaat Leroy, Alanah Pieters, Audrey Baze, Céline Parmentier and Mathieu Vinken.
  • Journal: International Journal of Molecular Sciences 22: 11005.

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