Robustness testing and optimization of an adverse outcome pathway on cholestatic liver injury

Eva Gijbels, Vânia Vilas-Boas, Pieter Annaert, Tamara Vanhaecke, Lindsey Devisscher, Mathieu Vinken

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)


Adverse outcome pathways (AOPs) have been recently introduced as tools to map the mechanisms underlying toxic events relevant for chemical risk assessment. AOPs particularly depict the linkage between a molecular initiating event and an adverse outcome through a number of intermediate key events. An AOP has been previously introduced for cholestatic liver injury. The objective of this study was to test the robustness of this AOP for different types of cholestatic insult and the in vitro to in vivo extrapolation. For this purpose, in vitro samples from human hepatoma HepaRG cell cultures were exposed to cholestatic drugs (i.e. intrahepatic cholestasis), while in vivo samples were obtained from livers of cholestatic mice (i.e. extrahepatic cholestasis). The occurrence of cholestasis in vitro was confirmed through analysis of bile transporter functionality and bile acid analysis. Transcriptomic analysis revealed inflammation and oxidative stress as key events in both types of cholestatic liver injury. Major transcriptional differences between intrahepatic and extrahepatic cholestatic liver insults were observed at the level of cell death and metabolism. Novel key events identified by pathway analysis included endoplasmic reticulum stress in intrahepatic cholestasis, and autophagy and necroptosis in both intrahepatic as extrahepatic cholestasis. This study demonstrates that AOPs constitute dynamic tools that should be frequently updated with new input information.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1151-1172
Number of pages22
JournalArchives of Toxicology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2020

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