CYP enzyme induction is a sensitive biomarker for phenotypic metabolic competence of in vitro test systems; it is a key event associated with thyroid disruption, and a biomarker for toxicologically relevant nuclear receptor-mediated pathways. This paper summarises the results of a multi-laboratory validation study of two in vitro methods that assess the potential of chemicals to induce cytochrome P450 (CYP) enzyme activity, in particular CYP1A2, CYP2B6, and CYP3A4. The methods are based on the use of cryopreserved primary human hepatocytes (PHH) and human HepaRG cells.
The validation study was coordinated by the European Union Reference Laboratory for Alternatives to Animal Testing of the European Commission's Joint Research Centre and involved a ring trial among six laboratories. The reproducibility was assessed within and between laboratories using a validation set of 13 selected chemicals (known human inducers and non-inducers) tested under blind conditions. The ability of the two methods to predict human CYP induction potential was assessed. Chemical space analysis confirmed that the selected chemicals are broadly representative of a diverse range of chemicals.
The two methods were found to be reliable and relevant in vitro tools for the assessment of human CYP induction, with the HepaRG method being better suited for routine testing. Recommendations for the practical application of the two methods are proposed.