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Arch Toxicol. 2018 Oct;92(10):2981-2986. doi: 10.1007/s00204-018-2297-6. Epub 2018 Aug 23.

Characterization of hepatocyte-based in vitro systems for reliable toxicity testing.

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Department of In Vitro Toxicology and Dermato-Cosmetology, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Laarbeeklaan 103, 1090, Brussels, Belgium.
Leibniz Research Centre for Working Environment and Human Factors at the Technical University of Dortmund (IfADo), Dortmund, Germany.


A plethora of human hepatocyte-based in vitro systems for toxicity testing has been developed over the past few years. These systems are either directly derived from liver tissue or have been generated through stem cell technology. A wide variety of parameters is currently used to demonstrate the acquisition of in vivo-like hepatocellular physiology and toxicity in such novel in vitro systems. This frequently leads to flawed claims regarding applicability and may impede comparison between in vitro systems. A possible solution lies in defining a set of consensus criteria for proper benchmarking. A proposal for characterization of hepatocyte-based in vitro systems for toxicity screening is made in this paper and consists of testing critical features of viability, morphology, functionality and toxicity.


Functionality; Hepatocyte; In vitro system; Morphology; Toxicity; Viability


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