In genetic toxicology, there is a trend against the increased use of in vivo models as highlighted by the 3R strategy, thus encouraging the development and implementation of alternative models. Two-dimensional (2D) hepatic cell models, which are generally used for studying the adverse effects of chemicals and consumer products, are prone to giving misleading results. On the other hand, newly developed hepatic three-dimensional (3D) cell models provide an attractive alternative, which, due to improved cell interactions and a higher level of liver-specific functions, including metabolic enzymes, reflect in vivo conditions more accurately. We developed an in vitro 3D cell model from the human hepatocellular carcinoma (HepG2) cell line. The spheroids were cultured under static conditions and characterised by monitoring their growth, morphology, and cell viability during the time of cultivation. A time-dependent suppression of cell division was observed. Cell cycle analysis showed time-dependent accumulation of cells in the G0/G1 phase. Moreover, time-dependent downregulation of proliferation markers was shown at the mRNA level. Genes encoding hepatic markers, metabolic phase I/II enzymes, were time-dependently deregulated compared to monolayers. New knowledge on the characteristics of the 3D cell model is of great importance for its further development and application in the safety assessment of chemicals, food products, and complex mixtures.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited