Drug and chemical toxicology

Acetaminophen toxicity in rat and mouse hepatocytes in vitro.

PMID 27960556


Acetaminophen (APAP) hepatotoxicity is often studied in primary cultures of hepatocytes of various species, but there are only few works comparing interspecies differences in susceptibility of hepatocytes to APAP in vitro. The aim of our work was to compare hepatotoxicity of APAP in rat and mouse hepatocytes in primary cultures. Hepatocytes isolated from male Wistar rats and C57Bl/6J mice were exposed to APAP for up to 24 h. We determined lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) activity in culture medium, activity of cellular dehydrogenases (WST-1) and activity of caspases 3 in cell lysate as markers of cell damage/death. We assessed content of intracellular reduced glutathione, production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and malondialdehyde (MDA). Respiration of digitonin-permeabilized hepatocytes was measured by high resolution respirometry and mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP) was visualized (JC-1). APAP from concentrations of 2.5 and 0.75 mmol/L induced a decrease in viability of rat (p < 0.001) and mouse (p < 0.001) hepatocytes (WST-1), respectively. In contrast to rat hepatocytes, there was no activation of caspase-3 in mouse hepatocytes after APAP treatment. Earlier damage to plasma membrane and faster depletion of reduced glutathione were detected in mouse hepatocytes. Mouse hepatocytes showed increased glutamate + malate-driven respiration in state 4 and higher susceptibility of the outer mitochondrial membrane (OMM) to APAP-induced injury. APAP displayed dose-dependent toxicity in hepatocytes of both species. Mouse hepatocytes in primary culture however had approximately three-fold higher susceptibility to the toxic effect of APAP when compared to rat hepatocytes.