Identification of nephrotoxic compounds with embryonic stem-cell-derived human renal proximal tubular-like cells

Mol Pharm. 2014 Jul 7;11(7):1982-90. doi: 10.1021/mp400637s. Epub 2014 Feb 20.


The kidney is a major target for drug-induced toxicity, and the renal proximal tubule is frequently affected. Nephrotoxicity is typically detected only late during drug development, and the nephrotoxic potential of newly approved drugs is often underestimated. A central problem is the lack of preclinical models with high predictivity. Validated in vitro models for the prediction of nephrotoxicity are not available. Major problems are related to the identification of appropriate cell models and end points. As drug-induced kidney injury is associated with inflammatory reactions, we explored the expression of inflammatory markers as end point for renal in vitro models. In parallel, we developed a new cell model. Here, we combined these approaches and developed an in vitro model with embryonic stem-cell-derived human renal proximal tubular-like cells that uses the expression of interleukin (IL)-6 and IL-8 as end points. The predictivity of the model was evaluated with 41 well-characterized compounds. The results revealed that the model predicts proximal tubular toxicity in humans with high accuracy. In contrast, the predictivity was low when well-established standard in vitro assays were used. Together, the results show that high predictivity can be obtained with in vitro models employing pluripotent stem cell-derived human renal proximal tubular-like cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acute Kidney Injury / chemically induced*
  • Acute Kidney Injury / metabolism
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Cell Line
  • Drug-Related Side Effects and Adverse Reactions / metabolism*
  • Embryonic Stem Cells / drug effects*
  • Embryonic Stem Cells / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / chemically induced
  • Inflammation / metabolism
  • Interleukin-6 / metabolism
  • Interleukin-8 / metabolism
  • Kidney / drug effects*
  • Kidney Tubules, Proximal / drug effects*
  • Kidney Tubules, Proximal / metabolism
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations / administration & dosage*


  • Biomarkers
  • Interleukin-6
  • Interleukin-8
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations