In an effort to replace, reduce and refine animal experimentation, there is an unmet need to advance current in vitro models that offer features with physiological relevance and enhanced predictivity of in vivo toxicological output. Hepatic toxicology is key following chemical, drug and nanomaterials (NMs) exposure, as the liver is vital in metabolic detoxification of chemicals as well as being a major site of xenobiotic accumulation (i.e., low solubility particulates). With the ever-increasing production of NMs, there is a necessity to evaluate the probability of consequential adverse effects, not only in health but also in clinically asymptomatic liver, as part of risk stratification strategies. In this study, two unique disease initiation and maintenance protocols were developed and utilised to mimic steatosis and pre-fibrotic NASH in scaffold-free 3D liver microtissues (MT) composed of primary human hepatocytes, hepatic stellate cells, Kupffer cells and sinusoidal endothelial cells. The characterized diseased MT were utilized for the toxicological assessment of a panel of xenobiotics. Highlights from the study included: 1. Clear experimental evidence for the pre-existing liver disease is important in the augmentation of xenobiotic-induced hepatotoxicity and 2. NMs are able to activate stellate cells. The data demonstrated that pre-existing disease is vital in the intensification of xenobiotic-induced liver damage. Therefore, it is imperative that all stages of the wide spectrum of liver disease are incorporated in risk assessment strategies. This is of significant consequence, as a substantial number of the general population suffer from sub-clinical liver injury without any apparent or diagnosed manifestations.
- 3D primary human quadruple-cell liver microtissue model
- In vitro hepatotoxicity
- In vitro vs. in vivo relevance
- Pre-existing disease state
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis