FHNW, Switzerland

Prof. Dr. Laura Suter-Dick is currently Professor for Molecular Toxicology in the School of Life Sciences at the University of Applied Sciences Northwestern Switzerland (FHNW) ...

... She is a European Registered Toxicologist (ERT), holds a PhD in biology and acquired more than 20 years of research experience in Pharmaceutical Industry before moving to academia in 2012. During her career at industry, she specialized in mechanistic toxicology, with a strong focus on advanced in vitro systems, alternative to animal methods, and toxicogenomics. She is also actively involved in teaching and supervision of students. She is a board member and part of the scientific panel of ESTIV (European Society of in vitro Toxicology) and Swisstox, member of the national initiatives SCAHT and 3RCC, and president of Swiss biotechnet.



Assessment of human relevant effects of PTS using relevant an in vitro systems

Prof. Dr. Laura Suter-Dick1,*

1 HLS (FHNW), Muttenz, Switzerland

Persistent Toxic Substances are present in the environment and can accumulate in biological systems, posing a risk to man and the environment. Here we discuss po-tential in vitro systems to assess the effects of PTS in specific target organs in man. Commonly used cell culture systems in toxicological assessment are generally short-lived and useful for acute, relatively high-dose exposures to xenobiotics. However, accumulation of PTS may lead to noxious effects due chronic tissue ex-posure at low concentrations. Here, we present tailor-made, long-term cell cul-ture systems to assess neuro- and hepatotoxicity.

For the liver, we suggest utilizing scaffold-free microtissues containing three rele-vant hepatic cell types: HepaRG (hepatocytes), differentiated THP-1 (macrophag-es) and hTERT-HSC (stellate cells) to assess hepatocellular damage, immune re-sponse and liver repair/scar tissue formation. In addition, the involvement of the antioxidant defence Nrf2-pathway can be assessed. Thus, this in vitro system rep-resents a valid alternative to animal models for the investigation of long-term ex-posures of substances such as thioacetamide and dioxins.

PTS are also known to affect CNS, in particular leading to neuronal damage during neurodevelopment. By implementing an in vitro system able to represent mature and developing neurons, as well as inflammatory cells (THP-1) in a suitable matrix, we can assess the effect of compounds such as methyl mercury on neuronal health.