Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology vol:274 issue:1 pages:124-136
Early detection of drug-induced cholestasis remains a challenge during drug development.
We have developed and validated a biorelevant sandwich-cultured hepatocytes- (SCH) based model that can identify compounds causing cholestasis by altering bile acid disposition. Human and rat SCH were exposed (24-48 h) to known cholestatic and/or hepatotoxic compounds, in presence or in absence of a concentrated mixture of bile acids (BAs). Urea assay was used to assess (compromised)
hepatocyte functionality at the end of the incubations. The cholestatic potential of the compounds was expressed by calculating a drug-induced cholestasis index (DICI), reflecting the relative residual urea formation by hepatocytes co-incubated with BAs and test compound as compared to hepatocytes treated with test compound alone. Compounds with clinical reports of cholestasis, including cyclosporin A, troglitazone, chlorpromazine, bosentan, ticlopidine, ritonavir, and midecamycin showed enhanced toxicity in the presence of BAs (DICI ≤ 0.8) for at least one of the tested concentrations. In contrast, the in vitro toxicity of compounds causing hepatotoxicity by other mechanisms (including diclofenac, valproic acid, amiodarone and acetaminophen), remained unchanged in the presence of BAs. A safety margin (SM) for drug-induced cholestasis was calculated as the ratio of lowest in vitro concentration for which was DICI ≤ 0.8, to the reported mean peak therapeutic plasma concentration. SM values obtained in human SCH correlated well with reported % incidence of clinical drug-induced cholestasis, while no correlation was observed in rat SCH. This in vitro model enables early identification of drug candidates causing cholestasis by disturbed BA handling.