Application of cryopreserved precision-cut liver slices in pharmacotoxicology--principles, literature data and own investigations with special reference to CYP1A1-mRNA induction

Exp Toxicol Pathol. 1998 Sep;50(4-6):440-9. doi: 10.1016/S0940-2993(98)80031-6.


Principle steps necessary for cryopreservation of precision-cut liver slices as currently applied by different groups are summarized including own results concerning mode of freezing. Now we use rapid freezing by immersion in liquid nitrogen after exposure to 10% DMSO as the cryoprotectant for rat liver slices. The results indicate well-maintained cytochrome P450 (CYP)-dependent deethylation rates in slice homogenate after short-term incubation. ECOD rate in intact thawed slices was even higher than in fresh ones after 2 h incubation. In contrast to fresh slices all parameters except protein content decreased to marginal levels during long-term incubation of thawed slices for 24 h. The first preliminary experiments on albumin secretion by thawed rat liver slices, measured between the 2nd and the 4th hour of incubation, showed partial maintenance of this liver specific differentiated function. Trials to induce CYP1A1 in thawed rat liver slices in vitro by beta-naphthoflavone (BNF) resulted in increased expression of CYP1A1-mRNA within 6 h as shown by RT-PCR and quantified by competitive RT-PCR. The decline of deethylation rates, determined in slice homogenates, and of viability within 24 h incubation was not prevented by exposure to BNF or DMSO. The results derived from one sample of cryopreserved human liver slices indicate a quite acceptable maintenance of function up to 6 h, if the same protocol as developed for rat liver slices was used.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Albumins / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Cryopreservation*
  • Cryoprotective Agents / pharmacology
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP1A1 / biosynthesis*
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP1A1 / genetics
  • Dimethyl Sulfoxide / pharmacology
  • Enzyme Induction
  • Humans
  • Liver / drug effects
  • Liver / enzymology*
  • Organ Culture Techniques
  • Organ Preservation*
  • RNA, Messenger / biosynthesis*
  • Rats
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • beta-Naphthoflavone / pharmacology


  • Albumins
  • Cryoprotective Agents
  • RNA, Messenger
  • beta-Naphthoflavone
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP1A1
  • Dimethyl Sulfoxide