Integrated proteomic and transcriptomic investigation of the acetaminophen toxicity in liver microfluidic biochip
Microfluidic bioartificial organs allow the reproduction of in vivo-like properties such as cell culture in a 3D dynamical micro environment. In this work, we established a method and a protocol for performing a toxicogenomic analysis of HepG2/C3A cultivated in a microfluidic biochip. Transcriptomic and proteomic analyses have shown the induction of the NRF2 pathway and the related drug metabolism pathways when the HepG2/C3A cells were cultivated in the biochip. The induction of those pathways in the biochip enhanced the metabolism of the N-acetyl-p-aminophenol drug (acetaminophen-APAP) when compared to Petri cultures. Thus, we observed 50% growth inhibition of cell proliferation at 1 mM in the biochip, which appeared similar to human plasmatic toxic concentrations reported at 2 mM. The metabolic signature of APAP toxicity in the biochip showed similar biomarkers as those reported in vivo, such as the calcium homeostasis, lipid metabolism and reorganization of the cytoskeleton, at the transcriptome and proteome levels (which was not the case in Petri dishes). These results demonstrate a specific molecular signature for acetaminophen at transcriptomic and proteomic levels closed to situations found in vivo. Interestingly, a common component of the signature of the APAP molecule was identified in Petri and biochip cultures via the perturbations of the DNA replication and cell cycle. These findings provide an important insight into the use of microfluidic biochips as new tools in biomarker research in pharmaceutical drug studies and predictive toxicity investigations.