Short Communication

Archives of Toxicology

, Volume 87, Issue 1, pp 209-213

First online:

Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

Multi-cell type human liver microtissues for hepatotoxicity testing

  • S. MessnerAffiliated withInSphero AG
  • , I. AgarkovaAffiliated withInSphero AG
  • , W. MoritzAffiliated withInSphero AG
  • , J. M. KelmAffiliated withInSphero AG Email author 


Current 2-dimensional hepatic model systems often fail to predict chemically induced hepatotoxicity due to the loss of a hepatocyte-specific phenotype in culture. For more predictive in vitro models, hepatocytes have to be maintained in a 3-dimensional environment that allows for polarization and cell–cell contacts. Preferably, the model will reflect an in vivo-like multi-cell type environment necessary for liver-like responses. Here, we report the characterization of a multi-cell type microtissue model, generated from primary human hepatocytes and liver-derived non-parenchymal cells. Liver microtissues were stable and functional for 5 weeks in culture enabling, for example, long-term toxicity testing of acetaminophen and diclofenac. In addition, Kupffer cells were responsive to inflammatory stimuli such as LPS demonstrating the possibility to detect inflammation-mediated toxicity as exemplified by the drug trovafloxacin. Herewith, we present a novel 3D liver model for routine testing in 96-well format capable of reducing the risk of unwanted toxic effects in the clinic.


3-dimensional Spheroids Kupffer cells