Advancing Predictive Hepatotoxicity at the Intersection of Experimental, in Silico, and Artificial Intelligence Technologies

Chem Res Toxicol. 2018 Jun 18;31(6):412-430. doi: 10.1021/acs.chemrestox.8b00054. Epub 2018 May 10.


Adverse drug reactions, particularly those that result in drug-induced liver injury (DILI), are a major cause of drug failure in clinical trials and drug withdrawals. Hepatotoxicity-mediated drug attrition occurs despite substantial investments of time and money in developing cellular assays, animal models, and computational models to predict its occurrence in humans. Underperformance in predicting hepatotoxicity associated with drugs and drug candidates has been attributed to existing gaps in our understanding of the mechanisms involved in driving hepatic injury after these compounds perfuse and are metabolized by the liver. Herein we assess in vitro, in vivo (animal), and in silico strategies used to develop predictive DILI models. We address the effectiveness of several two- and three-dimensional in vitro cellular methods that are frequently employed in hepatotoxicity screens and how they can be used to predict DILI in humans. We also explore how humanized animal models can recapitulate human drug metabolic profiles and associated liver injury. Finally, we highlight the maturation of computational methods for predicting hepatotoxicity, the untapped potential of artificial intelligence for improving in silico DILI screens, and how knowledge acquired from these predictions can shape the refinement of experimental methods.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chemical and Drug Induced Liver Injury*
  • Computer Simulation*
  • Deep Learning*
  • Drug-Related Side Effects and Adverse Reactions
  • Humans
  • Liver / metabolism*
  • Models, Biological*
  • Toxicology / methods