Differential effect of troglitazone on the human bile acid transporters, MRP2 and BSEP, in the PXB hepatic chimeric mouse

Toxicol Pathol. 2012 Dec;40(8):1106-16. doi: 10.1177/0192623312447542. Epub 2012 Jun 6.


The aims of this study were to assess the utility of the PXB mouse model of a chimeric human/mouse liver in studying human-specific effects of an important human hepatotoxic drug, the PPARγ agonist, troglitazone. When given orally by gavage for 7 days, at dose levels of 300 and 600 ppm, troglitazone induced specific changes in the human hepatocytes of the chimeric liver without an effect on the murine hepatic portions. The human hepatocytes, in the vehicle-treated PXB mouse, showed an accumulation of electron-dense lipid droplets that appeared as clear vacuoles under the light microscope in H&E-stained sections. Following dosing with troglitazone, there was a loss of the large lipid droplets in the human hepatocytes, a decrease in the amount of lipid as observed in frozen sections of liver stained by Oil-red-O, and a decrease in the expression of two bile acid transporters, BSEP and MRP2. None of these changes were observed in the murine remnants of the chimeric liver. No changes were observed in the expression of three CYPs, CYP 3A2, CYP 1A1, and CYP 2B1, in either the human or murine hepatocytes, even though the baseline expression of the enzymes differed significantly between the two hepatocyte species with the mouse hepatocytes consistently showing increased expression of the protein of all three enzymes. This study has shown that the human hepatocytes, in the PXB chimeric mouse liver, retain an essentially normal phenotype in the mouse liver and, the albeit limited CYP enzymes studied show a more human, rather than a murine, expression pattern. In line with this conclusion, the study has shown a differential response of the human versus the mouse hepatocytes, and the effects observed are highly suggestive of a differential handling of the compound by the two hepatocyte species although the exact reasons are not as yet clear. The PXB chimeric mouse system therefore holds the clear potential to explore human hepatic-specific features, such as metabolism, prior to dosing human subjects, and as such should have considerable utility in drug discovery and development.

MeSH terms

  • ATP Binding Cassette Transporter, Subfamily B, Member 11
  • ATP-Binding Cassette Transporters / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Child, Preschool
  • Chromans / toxicity*
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System / metabolism
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Down-Regulation / drug effects
  • Female
  • Hepatocytes / drug effects*
  • Hepatocytes / metabolism
  • Hepatocytes / transplantation
  • Hepatocytes / ultrastructure
  • Humans
  • Liver / drug effects*
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Liver / pathology
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, SCID
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Multidrug Resistance-Associated Protein 2
  • Multidrug Resistance-Associated Proteins / metabolism*
  • Organ Size / drug effects
  • PPAR gamma / agonists
  • Species Specificity
  • Thiazolidinediones / toxicity*
  • Transplantation Chimera*
  • Troglitazone


  • ABCB11 protein, human
  • ABCC2 protein, human
  • ATP Binding Cassette Transporter, Subfamily B, Member 11
  • ATP-Binding Cassette Transporters
  • Chromans
  • Multidrug Resistance-Associated Protein 2
  • Multidrug Resistance-Associated Proteins
  • PPAR gamma
  • Thiazolidinediones
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System
  • Troglitazone