Primary rat hepatocytes as in vitro system for gene expression studies: comparison of sandwich, Matrigel and 2D cultures

Schug, M.; Heise, T.; Bauer, A.; Storm, D.; Blaszkewicz, M.; Bedawy, E.; Brulport, M.; Geppert, B.; Hermes, M.; Follmann, W.; Rapp, K.; Maccoux, L.; Schormann, W.; Appel, K. E.; Oberemm, A.; Gundert-Remy, U.; Hengstler, J. G.

Recent studies have presented evidence that in vivo obtained gene expression data can be used for carcinogen classification, for instance to differentiate between genotoxic and non-genotoxic carcinogens. However, although primary rat hepatocytes represent a well-established in vitro system for drug metabolism and enzyme induction, they have not yet been systematically optimized for toxicogenomic studies. The latter may be confounded by the fact that cultured hepatocytes show strong spontaneous alterations in gene expression patterns. Therefore, we addressed the following questions: (1) which culture system is optimal, comparing sandwich, Matrigel and 2D cultures, (2) how critical is the impact of culture period on substance-induced alterations in gene expression and (3) do these substance-induced alterations in cultured hepatocytes occur already at in vivo relevant concentrations? For this purpose we analyzed the expression of four genes, namely Abat, Gsk3beta, Myd116 and Sult1a1 that recently have been reported to be influenced by the antihistamine and non-genotoxic carcinogen methapyrilene (MPy). The most reproducible effects of MPy were observed in sandwich cultures. Induction factors of Gsk3beta and Myd116 at 100 microM MPy were 2 and 4 (medians), respectively, whereas expression of Abat and Sult1a1 were inhibited by factors of 7 and 5, respectively. Similar results were observed in hepatocytes maintained for 24 h or 3 weeks in sandwich culture with respect to the influence of MPy on the expression of Abat, Gsk3beta, Myd116 and Sult1a1. To determine whether MPy influences gene expression at in vivo relevant concentrations, 3.5 mg/kg MPy were administered to male Wistar rats intraperitoneally, resulting in plasma concentrations ranging between 1.72 and 0.32 microM 5 and 80 min after injection. Inhibition of Abat and Sult1a1 expression in vitro already occurred at in vivo relevant concentrations of 0.39 microM MPy. Induction of Myd116 was observed at 6.25 microM which is higher but in the same order of magnitude as in vivo relevant concentrations. In conclusion, the presented data strongly suggest that sandwich cultures are most adequate for detection of MPy-induced gene expression alterations and the effect of MPy was detected at in vivo relevant concentrations

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Schug, M. / Heise, T. / Bauer, A. / et al: Primary rat hepatocytes as in vitro system for gene expression studies: comparison of sandwich, Matrigel and 2D cultures. 2008.

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