Adverse reactions or lack of response to medications are important concerns for drug development programs. However, faithful predictions of drug metabolism and toxicity are difficult because animal models show only limited translatability to humans. Furthermore, current in vitro systems, such as hepatic cell lines or primary human hepatocyte (PHH) 2-dimensional (2D) monolayer cultures, can be used only for acute toxicity tests because of their immature phenotypes and inherent instability. Therefore, the migration to novel phenotypically stable models is of prime importance for the pharmaceutical industry. Novel 3-dimensional (3D) culture systems have been shown to accurately mimic in vivo hepatic phenotypes on transcriptomic and proteomic level, but information about their metabolic stability is lacking. Using a combination of targeted and untargeted high-resolution mass spectrometry, we found that PHHs in 3D spheroid cultures remained metabolically stable for multiple weeks, whereas metabolic patterns of PHHs from the same donors cultured as conventional 2D monolayers rapidly deteriorated. Furthermore, pharmacokinetic differences between donors were maintained in 3D spheroid cultures, enabling studies of interindividual variability in drug metabolism and toxicity. We conclude that the 3D spheroid system is metabolically stable and constitutes a suitable model for in vitro studies of long-term drug metabolism and pharmacokinetics.-Vorrink, S. U., Ullah, S., Schmid, S., Nandania, J., Velagapudi, V., Beck, O., Ingelman-Sundberg, M., Lauschke, V. M. Endogenous and xenobiotic metabolic stability of primary human hepatocytes in long-term 3D spheroid cultures revealed by a combination of targeted and untargeted metabolomics.
Keywords: 3D cell culture; cytochrome P450 enzymes; drug metabolism; hepatic metabolism; mass spectrometry.
© The Author(s).