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Yakugaku Zasshi. 2015;135(11):1273-9. doi: 10.1248/yakushi.15-00200.

[In Vitro and in Vivo Assessments of Drug-induced Hepatotoxicity and Drug Metabolism in Humans].

[Article in Japanese]

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Graduate School of Biomedical and Health Sciences, Hiroshima Univeristy.


Drug-induced hepatotoxicity is of concern in drug discovery and development. Reactive metabolites generated by drug metabolizing enzymes in the liver contribute to the induction of hepatotoxicity. Therefore, drug-induced hepatotoxicity, drug metabolism, and pharmacokinetics were evaluated in vitro and in vivo in this pre-clinical study. First, hepatotoxicity was tested in vitro using three-dimensional hepatocyte cultures. Hepatocyte spheroids formed in the three-dimensional culture systems maintain various liver functions such as the expression of drug metabolizing enzymes. High dose exposure to acetaminophen (APAP) induces hepatotoxicity because of the formation of reactive metabolites by CYP. Using fluorescence imaging, we observed that cell viability and glutathione levels were reduced in hepatocyte spheroids exposed to APAP mediated by the metabolic activation of CYP. On the other hand, there are species differences in the expression of drug metabolizing enzymes and metabolite profiles between animals and humans. Therefore, chimeric mice transfected with human hepatocytes were used for the in vivo assessment of metabolic profiles in humans. We found that drug metabolism and pharmacokinetics mediated by CYP and non-CYP enzymes, such as UDP-glucuronosyltransferase and aldehyde oxidase, in chimeric mice with humanized liver were similar to those in humans. The combination of in vitro and in vivo assessments using spheroids and chimeric mice with humanized liver, respectively, during the screening of drug candidates may help to reveal hepatotoxicity induced by the formation of metabolites.

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