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In Vitro Cell Dev Biol. 1990 Nov;26(11):1057-62.

Drug metabolizing enzymes in rat hepatocytes co-cultured with cell lines.

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  • 1Centro de Investigación, Hospital La Fe, Servicio Valenciano de Salud, Spain.


We have developed new co-cultures of continuous cell lines 3T3 (clone A31) and C3H/10T1/2 (clone 8) with hepatocytes as an alternative to co-cultures with noncontinuous epithelial cells. In this biological system we studied in detail the expression of the hepatic biotransformation system. After 7 d in culture, total cytochrome P-450 content and the monooxygenase activities aryl hydrocarbon hydroxylase and 7-ethoxycoumarin o-deethylase still maintained about 30% of their initial value, whereas in pure cultured hepatocytes these activities were undetectable. A significant response to induction by methylcholanthrene and phenobarbital of monooxygenase activities was observed in co-cultures for 7 d. NADPH-cytochrome c reductase activity remained unchanged for at least 7 d in co-cultured hepatocytes, whereas in pure cultures this activity was reduced to about 75% of the initial value after only 24 h. Finally, the activity of the conjugating enzymes UDP-Gt and GSH-t was maintained at nearly the initial levels during the complete period of study. The easy handling of continuous cell lines and the maintenance of the biotransformation system of hepatocytes in co-culture make this approach simpler and easier to standardize.

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