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J Biosci Bioeng. 2011 Jan;111(1):78-84. doi: 10.1016/j.jbiosc.2010.08.008. Epub 2010 Sep 15.

Evaluation of drug toxicity with hepatocytes cultured in a micro-space cell culture system.

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Department of Pharmacology, National Research Institute for Child Health and Development, 2-10-1 Okura, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo 157-8535, Japan.


A micro-space cell culture system was recently developed in which cells such as hepatocytes can be cultured and formed into a multicellular three-dimensional (3D) architecture. In this study, we assessed the performance of HepG2 cells cultured in this micro-space cell culture system in a drug toxicity test, and evaluated the effects of micro-space culture on their hepatocyte-specific functions. The micro-space cell culture facilitated the formation of 3D HepG2 cell architecture. HepG2 cells cultured in a micro-space culture plate exhibited increased albumin secretion and enhanced mRNA expression levels of cytochrome P450 (CYP) enzyme compared to those cultured in a monolayer culture. When the cells were exposed to acetaminophen, a hepatotoxic drug, the damage to the HepG2 cells grown in micro-space culture was greater than the damage to the HepG2 cells grown in monolayer culture. In addition, human primary hepatocytes grown in micro-space culture also exhibited increased albumin secretion, enhanced CYP mRNA expression levels and increased sensitivity to acetaminophen compared to those grown in monolayer culture. These results suggest that this micro-space culture method enhances the hepatocyte-specific functions of hepatocytes, including drug-metabolizing enzyme activities, making hepatocytes grown in the micro-space culture system a useful tool for evaluating drug toxicity in vitro.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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