tissue slices

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Nephrotoxicity Testing In Vitro: The Current Situation

Jean-Paul Morin, Marc E. De Broe, Walter Pfaller and Gabriele
Schmuck

An ECVAM task force on nephrotoxicity has been established to advise, in particular, on the follow-up to recommendations made in the ECVAM workshop report on nephrotoxicity testing in vitro. Since this workshop was held, in 1994, there have been several improvements in the techniques used. For example, the duration of renal slice viability, and the maintenance of functional activities in slices, have been improved by using dynamic incubation systems with higher oxygen tensions and more-appropriate cell culture media. Highly differentiated primary cultures of pig, human and rabbit proximal tubule cells have been established by using specific cell isolation procedures and/or selective culture media. To date, the most comparable phenotypic expression and transepithelial transport capacities to proximal tubules in vivo have been obtained with primary cultures of rabbit proximal tubule cells which are grown on bicompartmental supports; in this system, transepithelial substrate gradients are generated and the transepithelial transport of both organic anions and cations is highly active. This in vitro system has been selected by ECVAM for further evaluation and prevalidation. Industrial needs in the area of nephrotoxicity testing have been identified, and recommendations are made at the end of this report concerning possible future initiatives.
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The Use of the Integrated Discrete Multiple Organ Coculture (IdMOC®) System for the Evaluation of Multiple Organ Toxicity

Albert P. Li

The application of the Integrated Discrete Multiple Organ Co-culture (IdMOC®) system in the evaluation of organ-specific toxicity is reviewed. In vitro approaches to predict in vivo toxicity have met with limited success, mainly because of the complexity of in vivo toxic responses. In vivo properties that are not well-represented in vitro include organ-specific responses, multiple organ metabolism, and multiple organ interactions. The IdMOC system has been developed to address these deficiencies. The system uses a ‘wells-within-a-well’ concept for the co-culturing of cells or tissue slices from different organs as physically separated (discrete) entities in the small inner wells. These inner wells are nevertheless interconnected (integrated) by overlying culture medium in the large outer containing well. The IdMOC system thereby models the in vivo situation, in which multiple organs are physically separated but interconnected by the systemic circulation, permitting multiple organ interactions. The IdMOC system, with either cells or tissue slices from multiple organs, can be used to evaluate cell type-specific or organ-specific toxicity.
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