Human precision-cut liver slices as an ex vivo model to study idiosyncratic drug-induced liver injury

M Hadi, I.M. Westra, V. Starokozhko, S. Dragovic, M.T. Merema, G.M. Groothuis

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Idiosyncratic drug-induced liver injury (IDILI) is a major problem during drug development and has caused drug withdrawal and black-box warnings. Because of the low concordance of the hepatotoxicity of drugs in animals and humans, robust screening methods using human tissue are needed to predict IDILI in humans. According to the inflammatory stress hypothesis, the effects of inflammation interact with the effects of a drug or its reactive metabolite, precipitating toxic reactions in the liver. As a follow-up to our recently published mouse precision-cut liver slices model, an ex vivo model involving human precision-cut liver slices (hPCLS), co-incubated for 24 h with IDILI-related drugs and lipopolysaccharide (LPS), was developed to study IDILI mechanisms related to inflammatory stress in humans and to detect potential biomarkers. LPS exacerbated the effects of ketoconazole and clozapine toxicity but not those of their non-IDILI-related comparators, voriconazole and olanzapine. However, the IDILI-related drugs diclofenac, carbamazepine, and troglitazone did not show synergistic toxicity with LPS after incubation for 24 h. Co-incubation of ketoconazole and clozapine with LPS decreased the levels of glutathione in hPCLS, but this was not seen for the other drugs. All drugs affected LPS-induced cytokine release, but interestingly, only ketoconazole and clozapine increased the level of LPS-induced TNF release. Decreased levels of glutathione and cysteine conjugates of clozapine were detected in IDILI-responding livers following cotreatment with LPS. In conclusion, we identified ketoconazole and clozapine as drugs that exhibited synergistic toxicity with LPS, while glutathione and TNF were found to be potential biomarkers for IDILI-inducing drugs mediated by inflammatory stress. hPCLS appear to be suitable for further unraveling the mechanisms of inflammatory stress-associated IDILI. © 2013 American Chemical Society.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)710-720
JournalChemical Research in Toxicology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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