Novel approaches using human induced pluripotent stem cells and microRNAs in the development of relevant human hepatocyte models for drug-induced liver injury

Kia, Richard
Novel approaches using human induced pluripotent stem cells and microRNAs in the development of relevant human hepatocyte models for drug-induced liver injury. PhD thesis, University of Liverpool.

[img] Text
KiaRic_Oct2014_2010059.pdf - Unspecified
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (6MB)


Drug-induced liver injury (DILI) remains a prominent cause of patient morbidity and mortality, partly due to the lack of relevant in vitro hepatic models for accurate screening for drug-induced hepatotoxicity at the early stages of drug development, and also the lack of sophisticated in vitro model systems to mechanistically understand the pathways that are perturbed following drug exposure. This thesis describes our endeavour to develop more relevant in vitro human hepatocyte models via novel investigative approaches using insights gained from the rapidly advancing research areas of human induced pluripotent stem cells and microRNAs (miRs). An emerging hepatic model is hepatocyte-like cells (HLCs) generated from human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs), though the functional phenotype of HLCs in general remains limited in comparison with the gold standard in vitro model of human primary hepatocytes (hPHs). As studies have shown that hiPSCs retain transient epigenetic memories of the donor cells despite cellular reprogramming with a resultant skewed propensity to differentiate towards the cell-type of origin, we evaluated the contribution of epigenetic memory towards hepatic differentiation by comparing HLCs generated from hPH- and non-hPH-derived hiPSC lines derived from a single donor. Our findings suggested that they were functionally similar, although comparison using hiPSC lines derived from other donors is still required to be conclusive. Although hPHs remain the gold standard in vitro model for DILI, they are commonly harvested from liver tissue of poor quality and rapidly lose their in vivo phenotype during extended in vitro culture, limiting its utility to acute toxicity studies only. Using an unbiased miR expression profiling approach, we identified a set of differentially-expressed miRs in dedifferentiating hPHs which are associated with many of the previously delineated perturbed pathways and biological functions. However, validation experiments are now required to confirm our findings from the bioinformatics analyses. Another approach taken to develop relevant and functional hepatic models includes efforts to better emulate the in vivo liver tissue environment by using complex hepatic models co-cultured with non-parenchymal cells. However, for the application of these models in the study of drug-induced toxicity, a hepatocyte-specific marker of hepatocyte perturbation is needed to discriminate non-specific cellular toxicity contributed by non-hepatocyte cell types present within the model. We demonstrated that the detection of miR-122 in cell culture media can be applied as a hepatocyte-enriched marker of toxicity in heterogeneous cultures of hepatic cells. In summary, this thesis describes our contribution towards the continuing efforts to develop new and improve on existing hepatic models for DILI by evaluating the contribution of epigenetic memory towards the functional phenotype of HLCs, delineating the changing miR profile of dedifferentiating hPHs, and introduced the concept of using miR-122 as a cell-type specific marker of hepatocyte perturbation with a potential to bridge in vitro and in vivo findings.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: Date: 2014-10 (completed)
Subjects: ?? RC ??
?? RM ??
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 18 Aug 2015 10:20
Last Modified: 17 Dec 2022 01:18
DOI: 10.17638/02010059