Tuesday, 14 May 2019 13:04

ETH Zurich has developed new in vitro embryotoxicity test Featured

Swiss scientists from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH) have developed a new test on a chip basis, which can be used to early detect damages to an embryo caused by chemical substances or drugs. The test can be used to screen substances thereby reducing animal testing and saving costs.

Scientists from the Department of Biosystems at ETH Zurich in Basel have developed a test which enables them to assess the embryotoxicity of active substances without animal experimentation. The test is an extension of the Embryonic Stem Cell Test (EST) with embryonic stem cells from mice. In such a test, stem cells are used to generate three-dimensional lumps of cells, called embryoid bodies, during a ten-day development period. The addition of embryotoxic substances can influence this process. This test has now been extended by integration of human liver microtissue in a cell culture chip system. The liver tissue is of great importance, because very often the substance is first metabolized into a toxic form by the liver, which result cannot be detected with the EST solely. Metabolites produced by liver cells can directly affect the embryonic cells via a microchannel flow system. Both the stem cell line of the mouse as well as the liver cells come from the Swiss company InSphero.

The scientists* presented their test in the journal Advanced Science:

Boos JA, Misun PM, Michlmayr A, Hierlemann A, Frey O: Microfluidic Multitissue Platform for Advanced Embryotoxicity Testing In Vitro. Advanced Science 2019, 1900294, doi: 10.1002/advs.201900294