Mouse precision-cut liver slices as an ex vivo model to study drug-induced cholestasis

R E H Karsten, N J W Krijnen, W Maho, H Permentier, E Verpoorte, P Olinga*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
51 Downloads (Pure)


Drugs are often withdrawn from the market due to the manifestation of drug-induced liver injury (DILI) in patients. Drug-induced cholestasis (DIC), defined as obstruction of hepatic bile flow due to medication, is one form of DILI. Because DILI is idiosyncratic, and the resulting cholestasis complex, there is no suitable in vitro model for early DIC detection during drug development. Our goal was to develop a mouse precision-cut liver slice (mPCLS) model to study DIC and to assess cholestasis development using conventional molecular biology and analytical chemistry methods. Cholestasis was induced in mPCLS through a 48-h-incubation with three drugs known to induce cholestasis in humans, namely chlorpromazine (15, 20, and 30 µM), cyclosporin A (1, 3, and 6 µM) or glibenclamide (25, 50, and 65 µM). A bile-acid mixture (16 µM) that is physiologically representative of the human bile-acid pool was added to the incubation medium with drug, and results were compared to incubations with no added bile acids. Treatment of PCLS with cholestatic drugs increased the intracellular bile-acid concentration of deoxycholic acid and modulated bile-transporter genes. Chlorpromazine led to the most pronounced cholestasis in 48 h, observed as increased toxicity; decreased protein and gene expression of the bile salt export pump; increased gene expression of multidrug resistance-associated protein 4; and accumulation of intracellular bile acids. Moreover, chlorpromazine-induced cholestasis exhibited some transition into fibrosis, evidenced by increased gene expression of collagen 1A1 and heatshock protein 47. In conclusion, we demonstrate that mPCLS can be used to study human DIC onset and progression in a 48 h period. We thus propose this model is suited for other similar studies of human DIC.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2523-2543
Number of pages21
JournalArchives of toxicology
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sept-2022


  • Animals
  • Bile Acids and Salts/metabolism
  • Chemical and Drug Induced Liver Injury/etiology
  • Chlorpromazine/toxicity
  • Cholestasis/chemically induced
  • Dacarbazine/toxicity
  • Humans
  • Liver/metabolism
  • Mice


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