High-content screening of drug-induced mitochondrial impairment in hepatic cells: effects of statins.


Tolosa, Laia; Carmona, Antonio; Castell, Jos? V; G?mez-Lech?n, M Jos?; Donato, M Teresa

Publication Year 2015
Journal Archives of Toxicology
Pages 1847-1860
Volume 89
Issue 10
PMID 25160661.0
DOI 10.1007/s00204-014-1334-3
URL http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00204-014-1334-3

A frequent mechanism for drug-induced liver injury (DILI) is mitochondrial impairment, and early evaluation of new drugs for their potential to cause mitochondrial dysfunction is becoming an important task for drug development. To this end, we designed a high-content screening assay to study mitochondrial-induced hepatotoxicity in HepG2 cells in detail. Simultaneous assessment of mitochondrial mass and cell viability in cells exposed for 24?h to compounds provides preliminary information on the mitochondrial- or nonmitochondrial-related hepatotoxic potential of compounds. To fully address the mechanisms implicated in mitochondrial impairment, prelethal changes in mitochondrial superoxide production, mitochondrial membrane potential, mitochondrial permeability transition, intracellular calcium concentration and apoptotic cell death were studied in cells incubated for 1?h with compounds. The assay correctly classified a set of well-known mitochondrial toxicants and negative controls and revealed high sensitivity for the detection of mitochondrial DILI and the establishment of different mitochondrial toxicity risks (low to high). This procedure was used for analysing the potential mitochondrial impairment of six statins to determine their clinical risk. All the tested statins produced mitochondrial impairment, although they showed different levels of toxicity (low-medium toxicity risk). The results suggest that this cell-based assay is a promising in vitro approach to predict the potential of drug candidates to induce mitochondrial-associated hepatotoxicity.