Comparative study of CYP2B1/2 induction and the transport of bilirubin and taurocholate in rat hepatocyte-mono- and hepatocyte-Kupffer cell co-cultures

Attila Bátai-Konczos, Z. Veres, Mónika Szabó, Eniko Ioja, Glória László, György Török, L. Homolya, K. Jemnitz

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Introduction: Hepatocyte-Kupffer cell (KC) co-cultures represent a promising approach for in vitro modeling of complex interactions between parenchymal and non-parenchymal cells in the liver, responsible for drug-induced liver injury (DILI). In this study we aimed to compare hepatocyte monocultures with hepatocyte-KC co-cultures regarding some basic liver functions associated with the chemical defense system. These pathways involve transporters and enzymes the function of which is highly sensitive towards hepatotoxic events. Methods: CYP2B1/2 induction and the biliary and sinusoidal elimination of bilirubin (B) and taurocholate (TC) were studied in rat hepatocyte sandwich cultures compared with rat hepatocyte-KC sandwich co-cultures of 1:0, 6:1, 2:1 and 1:1 cell combinations representing the physiologic and pathologic conditions of the liver. Results: KCs decreased phenobarbital inducibility of CYP2B1/2 in a cell ratio dependent manner and activation of KCs by lipopolisacharide (LPS) amplified this effect. Similarly, KCs decreased the transport of B and its glucuronides (BG) in both sinusoidal and canalicular directions resulting in its intracellular accumulation. In contrast, the uptake and the efflux of TC were greater in the co-cultures than in the hepatocyte monocultures. Immuno-labelling of sodium-dependent taurocholate transporter (Ntcp) revealed increased expression of the transporter in the presence of KCs. Discussion: Here we presented that KCs have a direct impact on some hepatocyte functions suggesting that the co-culture model may be more suitable for drug related hepatotoxicity studies than hepatocyte monocultures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Pharmacological and Toxicological Methods
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 2016



  • CYP2B1/2
  • Hepatocyte
  • Kupffer cell
  • Sandwich co-culture method
  • Transporters

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Toxicology

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