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Toxicol In Vitro. 2005 Aug;19(5):631-44.

In vitro models to evaluate acute and chronic injury to the heart and vascular systems.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Louisville School of Medicine, 580 S Preston, Louisville, KY 40292, USA.


Multiple in vitro model systems are currently available to evaluate structure and function relationships in the cardiovascular system as well as the system's response to injury. As the level of molecular sophistication continues to advance, so does the level of complexity of the analysis. One of the most daunting tasks faced by researchers interested in studying cardiovascular function and injury is the selection of the system or systems best suited to answer the particular question at hand. In order to successfully apply any given model system, the researcher must recognize the advantages and limitations in the system of choice. This review provides a listing of the historical and modern techniques used to study cardiovascular function and chemically-induced toxicity. With the growing number of new pharmaceuticals discovered each year, it is imperative to use experimental model systems that allow for identification of targets that participate in or mediate adverse outcomes. Clearly, in vitro analysis cannot replace in vivo experimentation, but the methods currently available allow for a reduction in the number of animals used for experimentation and a better understanding of the complexity associated with the injury response.

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