Bile canalicular dynamics in hepatocyte sandwich cultures
Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift, 2015

Many substances are hepatotoxic due to their ability to cause intrahepatic cholestasis. Therefore, there is a high demand for in vitro systems for the identification of cholestatic properties of new compounds. Primary hepatocytes cultivated in collagen sandwich cultures are known to establish bile canaliculi which enclose secreted biliary components. Cholestatic compounds are mainly known to inhibit bile excretion dynamics, but may also alter canalicular volume, or hepatocellular morphology. So far, techniques to assess time-resolved morphological changes of bile canaliculi in sandwich cultures are not available. In this study, we developed an automated system that quantifies dynamics of bile canaliculi recorded in conventional time-lapse image sequences. We validated the hepatocyte sandwich culture system as an appropriate model to study bile canaliculi in vitro by showing structural similarity measured as bile canaliculi length per hepatocyte to that observed in vivo. Moreover, bile canalicular excretion kinetics of CMFDA (5-chloromethylfluorescein diacetate) in sandwich cultures resembled closely the kinetics observed in vivo. The developed quantification technique enabled the quantification of dynamic changes in individual bile canaliculi. With this technique, we were able to clearly distinguish between sandwich cultures supplemented with dexamethasone and insulin from control cultures. In conclusion, the automated quantification system offers the possibility to systematically study the causal relationship between disturbed bile canalicular dynamics and cholestasis.


Bile canaliculi

3D system

Collagen sandwich

Primary hepatocytes

Image quantification


Raymond Reif

Technische Universität Dortmund

Johan Karlsson

Stiftelsen Fraunhofer-Chalmers Centrum för Industrimatematik

Georgia Günther

Technische Universität Dortmund

Lynette Beattie

University of York

David Wrangborg

Stiftelsen Fraunhofer-Chalmers Centrum för Industrimatematik

Seddik Hammad

Technische Universität Dortmund

South Valley University

Brigitte Begher-Tibbe

Technische Universität Dortmund

Amruta Vartak

Technische Universität Dortmund

Simone Melega

Universita di Bologna

Paul M. Kaye

University of York

Jan G. Hengstler

Technische Universität Dortmund

Mats Jirstrand

Stiftelsen Fraunhofer-Chalmers Centrum för Industrimatematik

Archives of Toxicology

0340-5761 (ISSN) 1432-0738 (eISSN)

Vol. 89 10 1861-1870


Informations- och kommunikationsteknik

Livsvetenskaper och teknik (2010-2018)



Bioinformatik och systembiologi


Grundläggande vetenskaper





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