Hydrogel embedding of precision-cut liver slices in a microfluidic device improves drug metabolic activity

Authors

  • Paul M. van Midwoud,

    1. Pharmaceutical Analysis, Department of Pharmacy, University of Groningen, A. Deusinglaan 1, 9713 AV Groningen, The Netherlands; tel: +31 50 363 3337, fax: +31 50 363 7582
    2. Pharmacokinetics, Toxicology and Targeting, Department of Pharmacy, University of Groningen, A. Deusinglaan 1, 9713 AV Groningen, The Netherlands
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  • Marjolijn T. Merema,

    1. Pharmacokinetics, Toxicology and Targeting, Department of Pharmacy, University of Groningen, A. Deusinglaan 1, 9713 AV Groningen, The Netherlands
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  • Niek Verweij,

    1. Pharmacokinetics, Toxicology and Targeting, Department of Pharmacy, University of Groningen, A. Deusinglaan 1, 9713 AV Groningen, The Netherlands
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  • Geny M.M. Groothuis,

    1. Pharmacokinetics, Toxicology and Targeting, Department of Pharmacy, University of Groningen, A. Deusinglaan 1, 9713 AV Groningen, The Netherlands
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  • Elisabeth Verpoorte

    Corresponding author
    1. Pharmaceutical Analysis, Department of Pharmacy, University of Groningen, A. Deusinglaan 1, 9713 AV Groningen, The Netherlands; tel: +31 50 363 3337, fax: +31 50 363 7582
    • Pharmaceutical Analysis, Department of Pharmacy, University of Groningen, A. Deusinglaan 1, 9713 AV Groningen, The Netherlands; tel: +31 50 363 3337, fax: +31 50 363 7582.
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Abstract

A microfluidic-based biochip made of poly-(dimethylsiloxane) was recently reported for the first time by us for the incubation of precision-cut liver slices (PCLS). In this system, PCLS are continuously exposed to flow, to keep the incubation environment stable over time. Slice behavior in the biochip was compared with that of slices incubated in well plates, and verified for 24 h. The goal of the present study was to extend this incubation time. The viability and metabolic activity of precision-cut rat liver slices cultured in our novel microflow system was examined for 72 h. Slices were incubated for 1, 24, 48, and 72 h, and tested for viability (enzyme leakage (lactate dehydrogenase)) and metabolic activity (7-hydroxycoumarin (phase II) and 7-ethoxycoumarin (phase I and II)). Results show that liver slices retained a higher viability in the biochip when embedded in a hydrogel (Matrigel) over 72 h. This embedding prevented the slices from attaching to the upper polycarbonate surface in the microchamber, which occurred during prolonged (>24 h) incubation in the absence of hydrogel. Phase II metabolism was completely retained in hydrogel-embedded slices when medium supplemented with dexamethasone, insulin, and calf serum was used. However, phase I metabolism was significantly decreased with respect to the initial values in gel-embedded slices with medium supplements. Slices were still able to produce phase I metabolites after 72 h, but at only about ∼10% of the initial value. The same decrease in metabolic rate was observed in slices incubated in well plates, indicating that this decrease is due to the slices and medium rather than the incubation system. In conclusion, the biochip model was significantly improved by embedding slices in Matrigel and using proper medium supplements. This is important for in vitro testing of drug metabolism, drug–drug interactions, and (chronic) toxicity. Biotechnol. Bioeng. 2011; 108:1404–1412. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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