Automated analysis of acetaminophen toxicity on 3D HepaRG cell culture in microbioreactor

Real-time monitoring of bioanalytes in organotypic cell cultivation devices is a major research challenge in establishing stand-alone diagnostic systems. Presently, no general technical facility is available that offers a plug-in system for bioanalytics in diversely available organotypic culture models. Therefore, each analytical device has to be tuned according to the microfluidic and interface environment of the 3D in vitro system. Herein, we report the design and function of a 3D automated culture and analysis device (3D-ACAD) which actively perfuses a custom-made 3D microbioreactor, samples the culture medium and simultaneously performs capillary-based flow ELISA. A microstructured MatriGrid ® has been explored as a 3D scaffold for culturing HepaRG cells, with albumin investigated as a bioanalytical marker using flow ELISA. We investigated the effect of acetaminophen (APAP) on the albumin secretion of HepaRG cells over 96 h and compared this with the albumin secretion of 2D monolayer HepaRG cultures. Automated on-line monitoring of albumin secretion in the 3D in vitro mode revealed that the application of hepatotoxic drug-like APAP results in decreased albumin secretion. Furthermore, a higher sensitivity of the HepaRG cell culture in the automated 3D-ACAD system to APAP was observed compared to HepaRG cells cultivated as a monolayer. The results support the use of the 3D-ACAD model as a stand-alone device, working in real time and capable of analyzing the condition of the cell culture by measuring a functional analyte. Information obtained from our system is compared with conventional cell culture and plate ELISA, the results of which are presented herein.


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