Chimeric mice with humanized liver: Application in drug metabolism and pharmacokinetics studies for drug discovery

Drug Metab Pharmacokinet. 2018 Feb;33(1):31-39. doi: 10.1016/j.dmpk.2017.11.001. Epub 2017 Nov 9.


Predicting human drug metabolism and pharmacokinetics (PK) is key to drug discovery. In particular, it is important to predict human PK, metabolite profiles and drug-drug interactions (DDIs). Various methods have been used for such predictions, including in vitro metabolic studies using human biological samples, such as hepatic microsomes and hepatocytes, and in vivo studies using experimental animals. However, prediction studies using these methods are often inconclusive due to discrepancies between in vitro and in vivo results, and interspecies differences in drug metabolism. Further, the prediction methods have changed from qualitative to quantitative to solve these issues. Chimeric mice with humanized liver have been developed, in which mouse liver cells are mostly replaced with human hepatocytes. Since human drug metabolizing enzymes are expressed in the liver of these mice, they are regarded as suitable models for mimicking the drug metabolism and PK observed in humans; therefore, these mice are useful for predicting human drug metabolism and PK. In this review, we discuss the current state, issues, and future directions of predicting human drug metabolism and PK using chimeric mice with humanized liver in drug discovery.

Keywords: Chimeric mice with humanized liver; Drug metabolism; Drug-drug interactions; Metabolite profiles; Pharmacokinetics; Prediction.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chimera / genetics
  • Chimera / metabolism*
  • Drug Discovery / methods
  • Drug Discovery / trends*
  • Humans
  • Liver / drug effects
  • Liver / metabolism*
  • Metabolic Clearance Rate / physiology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations / administration & dosage
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations / chemistry
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations / metabolism*


  • Pharmaceutical Preparations