The need for competent in vitro liver models for toxicological assessment persists. The differentiation of stem cells into hepatocyte-like cells (HLC) has been adopted due to its human origin and availability. Our aim was to study the usefulness of an in vitro 3D model of mesenchymal stem cell-derived HLCs. 3D spheroids (3D-HLC) or monolayer (2D-HLC) cultures of HLCs were treated with the hepatotoxic drug nevirapine (NVP) for 3 and 10 days followed by analyses of Phase I and II metabolites, biotransformation enzymes and drug transporters involved in NVP disposition. To ascertain the toxic effects of NVP and its major metabolites, the changes in the glutathione net flux were also investigated. Phase I enzymes were induced in both systems yielding all known correspondent NVP metabolites. However, 3D-HLCs showed higher biocompetence in producing Phase II NVP metabolites and upregulating Phase II enzymes and MRP7. Accordingly, NVP-exposure led to decreased glutathione availability and alterations in the intracellular dynamics disfavoring free reduced glutathione and glutathionylated protein pools. Overall, these results demonstrate the adequacy of the 3D-HLC model for studying the bioactivation/metabolism of NVP representing a further step to unveil toxicity mechanisms associated with glutathione net flux changes.
- 3D culture
- Stem cells