Clark et al., 2021
Liver microphysiological systems (MPSs) are promising models for predicting hepatic drug effects. Yet, after a decade since their introduction, MPSs are not routinely used in drug development due to lack of criteria for ensuring reproducibility of results. We characterized the feasibility of a liver MPS to yield reproducible outcomes of experiments assaying drug toxicity, metabolism, and intracellular accumulation. The ability of the liver MPS to reproduce hepatotoxic effects was assessed using trovafloxacin, which increased lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) release and reduced cytochrome P450 3A4 (CYP3A4) activity. These observations were made in two test sites and with different batches of Kupffer cells. Upon culturing equivalent hepatocytes in the MPS, spheroids, and sandwich cultures, differences between culture formats were detected in CYP3A4 activity and albumin production. Cells in all culture formats exhibited different sensitivities to hepatotoxicant exposure. Hepatocytes in the MPS were more functionally stable than those of other culture platforms, as CYP3A4 activity and albumin secretion remained prominent for greater than 18 days in culture, whereas functional decline occurred earlier in spheroids (12 days) and sandwich cultures (7 days). The MPS was also demonstrated to be suitable for metabolism studies, where CYP3A4 activity, troglitazone metabolites, diclofenac clearance, and intracellular accumulation of chloroquine were quantified. To ensure reproducibility between studies with the MPS, the combined use of LDH and CYP3A4 assays were implemented as quality control metrics. Overall results indicated that the liver MPS can be used reproducibly in general drug evaluation applications. Study outcomes led to general considerations and recommendations for using liver MPSs.