Fundamental Toxicological Sciences

Paper Details

Fundamental Toxicological Sciences
Vol. 2 No. 1 January 21, 2015 p.41-48
Original Article
Utility of human hepatocyte spheroids for evaluation of hepatotoxicity
  • Takuo Ogihara (Laboratory of Biopharmaceutics, Faculty of Pharmacy, Takasaki University of Health and Welfare / Spheroid Working Group, Safety Evaluation Forum /
Takuo Ogihara 1) 14) , Hisakazu Iwai 2) 14) , Yukiko Inoue 14) , Jun Katagi 3) 14) , Norihito Matsumoto 3) 14) , Makiko Motoi-Ohtsuji 4) 14) , Motoharu Kakiki 4) 14) , Shinya Kaneda 5) 14) , Takuya Nagao 6) 14) , Kumiko Kusumoto 7) 14) , Emiko Ozeki 8) 14) , Tomoko Jomura 8) 14) , Sho Tanaka 9) 14) , Tadayoshi Ueda 10) 14) , Kunihiro Ohta 11) 14) , Takako Ohkura 12) 14) , Hiroshi Arakawa 1) 14) , Daichi Nagai 13) 14)
1) Laboratory of Biopharmaceutics, Faculty of Pharmacy, Takasaki University of Health and Welfare , 2) Drug Development Center, Sanwa Kagaku Kenkyusho Co., Ltd. , 3) Department of Biology & Pharmacology, Ono Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. , 4) Drug Metabolism and Pharmacokinetics Japan, Tsukuba Research Laboratories, Eisai Co., Ltd. , 5) Naruto Research Institute, Otsuka Pharmaceutical Factory, Inc. , 6) Environmental Evaluation Business Division, Sumika Chemical Analysis Service, Ltd. , 7) Department of Pathology, Osaka City University Medical School , 8) Research and Development, Toyo Gosei Co., Ltd. , 9) Safety Assessment Unit, Toxicological Laboratory, Public Interest Incorporated Foundation BioSafety Research Center , 10) Research & Development Division, Dainippon Sumitomo Pharma Co., Ltd. , 11) Pre-Clinical Research Department, Chugai Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. , 12) Clinical Development Division, Maruishi Pharmaceutical, Co., Ltd. , 13) Pharmaceutical Research Laboratories, Nippon Kayaku Co., Ltd. , 14) Spheroid Working Group, Safety Evaluation Forum
Keywords: Hepatotoxicity, Human hepatocytes, Spheroid culture, Three-dimensional culture

Drug-induced hepatotoxicity is a common reason for discontinuing the development of candidate clinical drugs. In the present study, we investigated the utility of three-dimensionally cultured human hepatocytes (spheroids) for prediction of hepatotoxicity, using a panel of model drugs: acetaminophen, benzbromarone, chlorpromazine, cyclosporin A, diclofenac, fialuridine, flutamide, imipramine, isoniazid, ticlopidine and troglitazone. Cultured spheroids showed a significant increase of albumin secretion from 2 to 7 days; the secretion started to decrease at 14 days, but continued from 14 days to 21 days. The morphology of the spheroids was well maintained for 21 days. Long-term exposure of spheroids to hepatotoxic drugs resulted in concentration-dependent depression of albumin secretion and elevation of aspartate aminotransferase (AST) leakage. The estimated 50% effective concentration (IC50) values for decrease of albumin secretion changed from 7 days to 14 days, but similar values were obtained at 14 and 21 days, except for diclofenac. Since the IC50 values and the values of drug concentration inducing 1.2-fold elevation of AST leakage (F1.2) were similar at 14 and 21 days, an incubation period of 14 days was considered sufficient. The coefficient of determination (R2) between IC50 values and F1.2 values of all drugs was 0.335. When cyclosporine A and fialuridine were excluded, the value of R2 became 0.887. The results indicate that the proposed human hepatocyte spheroid assay should be helpful in the evaluation of hepatotoxicity during the early development stage of clinical drug candidates.