Integrating multiple omics to unravel mechanisms of Cyclosporin A induced hepatotoxicity in vitro

Toxicol In Vitro. 2015 Apr;29(3):489-501. doi: 10.1016/j.tiv.2014.12.016. Epub 2015 Jan 3.


In order to improve attrition rates of candidate-drugs there is a need for a better understanding of the mechanisms underlying drug-induced hepatotoxicity. We aim to further unravel the toxicological response of hepatocytes to a prototypical cholestatic compound by integrating transcriptomic and metabonomic profiling of HepG2 cells exposed to Cyclosporin A. Cyclosporin A exposure induced intracellular cholesterol accumulation and diminished intracellular bile acid levels. Performing pathway analyses of significant mRNAs and metabolites separately and integrated, resulted in more relevant pathways for the latter. Integrated analyses showed pathways involved in cell cycle and cellular metabolism to be significantly changed. Moreover, pathways involved in protein processing of the endoplasmic reticulum, bile acid biosynthesis and cholesterol metabolism were significantly affected. Our findings indicate that an integrated approach combining metabonomics and transcriptomics data derived from representative in vitro models, with bioinformatics can improve our understanding of the mechanisms of action underlying drug-induced hepatotoxicity. Furthermore, we showed that integrating multiple omics and thereby analyzing genes, microRNAs and metabolites of the opposed model for drug-induced cholestasis can give valuable information about mechanisms of drug-induced cholestasis in vitro and therefore could be used in toxicity screening of new drug candidates at an early stage of drug discovery.

Keywords: Cholestasis; Cyclosporin A; Hepatotoxicity; Metabonomics; MicroRNA; Transcriptomics.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Chemical and Drug Induced Liver Injury / metabolism*
  • Chemical and Drug Induced Liver Injury / pathology
  • Cyclosporine / toxicity*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Hep G2 Cells
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / toxicity*
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Metabolomics
  • MicroRNAs / biosynthesis
  • RNA, Messenger / biosynthesis
  • Transcriptome


  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • MicroRNAs
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Cyclosporine