Troglitazone (Tro) is a thiazolidinedione antidiabetic drug that was withdrawn from the market due to its association with idiosyncratic severe liver injury. Tro has never induced liver injury in experimental animals in vivo. It was assumed that the species differences between human and experimental animals in the pharmaco- or toxicokinetics of Tro might be associated with these observations. In this study, we investigated whether a chimeric mouse with a humanized liver that we previously established, whose replacement index with human hepatocytes is up to 92% can reproduce Tro-induced liver injury. When the chimeric mice were orally administered Tro for 14 or 23 days (1000mg/kg/day), serum alanine aminotransferase (ALT) was significantly increased by 2.1- and 3.6-fold, respectively. Co-administration of l-buthionine sulfoximine (10mM in drinking water), an inhibitor of glutathione (GSH) synthesis, unexpectedly prevented the Tro-dependent increase of ALT, which suggests that the GSH scavenging pathway will not be involved in Tro-induced liver injury. To elucidate the mechanism of the onset of liver injury, hepatic GSH content, the level of oxidative stress markers and phase I and phase II drug metabolizing enzymes were determined. However, these factors were not associated with Tro-induced liver injury. An immune-mediated reaction may be associated with Tro-induced liver toxicity in vivo, because the chimeric mouse is derived from an immunodeficient SCID mouse. In conclusion, we successfully reproduced Tro-induced liver injury using chimeric mice with a humanized liver, which provides a new animal model for studying idiosyncratic drug-induced liver injury.
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