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JRC scientists develop High-Throughput Liver Toxicity Screening

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Apr 18, 2012
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Scientists from the European Commission Joint Research Centre have designed and demonstrated a high-throughput screening system to categorise chemicals based on their potential to cause liver toxicity. Their approach is based on the quantification of multiple biomarkers of effect that are expressed by HepaRG (liver) cells, treated on a robotic platform and analysed using automated microscopy.

The metabolic competence of this particular cell model facilitates the detection of toxic metabolites which is often difficult with more traditional approaches.

A set of 92 reference chemicals with known hepatotoxic activity was tested in a battery of high-throughput assays to allow the grouping of chemicals into response-categories associated with different modes of toxicological action.

As today there is no established in-vitro screening strategy to reliably identify potentially hepatotoxic chemicals, this new mode-of-action based approach - especially when supported by metabonomics and transcriptomics data - shows great promise for detecting potential liver toxicants without having to resort to animal testing. 

Read more in:
M. Mennecozzi, B. Landesmann, G. A. Harris, R. Liska, and M. Whelan, pdf icon Hepatotoxicity Screening Taking a Mode-Of-Action Approach Using HepaRG Cells and HCA, in ALTEX Proceedings of WC8, 1/12 (2012).

Photo: HTS operator Milena Mennecozzi. Copyright EU 2011.