Drug-induced liver injury is a major reason for discontinuation of drug development and withdrawal of drugs from the market. Intensive efforts in the last decades have focused on the establishment and finetuning of liver-based in vitromodels for reliable prediction of hepatotoxicity triggered by drug candidates. Of those, primary hepatocytes and their cultures still are considered the gold standard, as they provide an acceptable reflection of the hepatic in vivo situation. Nevertheless, these in vitro systems cope with gradual deterioration of the differentiated morphological and functional phenotype. The present paper gives an overview of traditional and more recently introduced strategies to counteract this dedifferentiation process in an attempt to set up culture models that can be used for long-term testing purposes. The relevance and applicability of such optimized cultures of primary hepatocytes for the testing of drug-induced cholestatic liver injury is demonstrated.
Click here for publisher's page