Drug metabolism and disposition: the biological fate of chemicals

Generation of enterocyte-like cells with pharmacokinetic functions from human induced pluripotent stem cells using small-molecule compounds.

PMID 25650381


The small intestine plays an important role in all aspects of pharmacokinetics, but there is no system for the comprehensive evaluation of small-intestinal pharmacokinetics, including drug metabolism and absorption. In this study, we aimed to construct an intestinal pharmacokinetics evaluation system and to generate pharmacokinetically functional enterocytes from human induced pluripotent stem cells. Using activin A and fibroblast growth factor 2, we differentiated these stem cells into intestinal stem cell-like cells, and the resulting cells were differentiated into enterocytes in a medium containing epidermal growth factor and small-molecule compounds. The differentiated cells expressed intestinal marker genes and drug transporters. The expression of sucrase-isomaltase, an intestine-specific marker, was markedly increased by small-molecule compounds. The cells exhibited activities of drug-metabolizing enzymes expressed in enterocytes, including CYP1A1/2, CYP2C9, CYP2C19, CYP2D6, CYP3A4/5, UGT, and sulfotransferase. Fluorescence-labeled dipeptide uptake into the cells was observed and was inhibited by ibuprofen, an inhibitor of the intestinal oligopeptide transporter solute carrier 15A1/PEPT1. CYP3A4 mRNA expression level was increased by these compounds and induced by the addition of 1α,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3. CYP3A4/5 activity was also induced by 1α,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 in cells differentiated in the presence of the compounds. All these results show that we have generated enterocyte-like cells that have pharmacokinetic functions, and we have identified small-molecule compounds that are effective for promoting intestinal differentiation and the gain of pharmacokinetic functions. Our enterocyte-like cells would be useful material for developing a novel evaluation system to predict human intestinal pharmacokinetics.