Biological responses from contaminants accumulated in seafood using an in vitro human intestinal and liver co-culture.
In vitro bioassays have been useful in predicting mechanisms of toxicity; however, conventional cell-based assays grown in monolayers are unavoidably poor models for human tissues due to the lack of complexity and physiological interplay observed in vivo. To address these limitations, the present study utilizes a combination of human intestinal and hepatic cells in a co-culture model. The purposes of these projects are to evaluate the differences between mono- and co-culture systems related to cytotoxicity and enzyme activity, and apply the co-culture model in the screening of seafood samples collected from the Galveston Bay. It was observed that the co-culture model had greater antioxidant enzyme activity compared to that of the monoculture, suggesting that hepatocytes grown in co-culture may be better suited to facilitate the expression of enzymes in response to xenobiotic metabolism in intestinal cells. This emphasizes the importance of adequate model selection to facilitate assessment of risk.