Synergistic drug-cytokine induction of hepatocellular death as an in vitro approach for the study of inflammation-associated idiosyncratic drug hepatotoxicity

Department of Biological Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA.
Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology (Impact Factor: 3.71). 05/2009; 237(3):317-30. DOI: 10.1016/j.taap.2009.04.002
Source: PubMed


Idiosyncratic drug hepatotoxicity represents a major problem in drug development due to inadequacy of current preclinical screening assays, but recently established rodent models utilizing bacterial LPS co-administration to induce an inflammatory background have successfully reproduced idiosyncratic hepatotoxicity signatures for certain drugs. However, the low-throughput nature of these models renders them problematic for employment as preclinical screening assays. Here, we present an analogous, but high-throughput, in vitro approach in which drugs are administered to a variety of cell types (primary human and rat hepatocytes and the human HepG2 cell line) across a landscape of inflammatory contexts containing LPS and cytokines TNF, IFN gamma, IL-1 alpha, and IL-6. Using this assay, we observed drug-cytokine hepatotoxicity synergies for multiple idiosyncratic hepatotoxicants (ranitidine, trovafloxacin, nefazodone, nimesulide, clarithromycin, and telithromycin) but not for their corresponding non-toxic control compounds (famotidine, levofloxacin, buspirone, and aspirin). A larger compendium of drug-cytokine mix hepatotoxicity data demonstrated that hepatotoxicity synergies were largely potentiated by TNF, IL-1 alpha, and LPS within the context of multi-cytokine mixes. Then, we screened 90 drugs for cytokine synergy in human hepatocytes and found that a significantly larger fraction of the idiosyncratic hepatotoxicants (19%) synergized with a single cytokine mix than did the non-hepatotoxic drugs (3%). Finally, we used an information theoretic approach to ascertain especially informative subsets of cytokine treatments for most highly effective construction of regression models for drug- and cytokine mix-induced hepatotoxicities across these cell systems. Our results suggest that this drug-cytokine co-treatment approach could provide a useful preclinical tool for investigating inflammation-associated idiosyncratic drug hepatotoxicity.


Available from: Bruce Tidor
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