Evaluation of developmental toxicant identification using gene expression profiling in embryonic stem cell differentiation cultures

D.A.M. van Dartel, J.L.A. Pennings, K.J. Brauers, S. Claessen, J.H. van Delft, J.C.S. Kleinjans, A.H. Piersma

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


    The murine embryonic stem cell test (EST) is an alternative testing method designed to assess potential developmental toxicity of compounds. The implementation of transcriptomics in the EST has been shown to reduce the culture duration and improve endpoint evaluation and is expected to result in an enhanced predictability and definition of the applicability domain. We evaluated the identification of developmental toxicity in the EST using two gene sets ("Van_Dartel_heartdiff_24h" and "EST biomarker genes") defined in our earlier studies. Nonexposed embryonic stem cells (ESC) differentiation cultures were sampled 0, 24, and 48 h after initiation of differentiation. Additionally, cultures exposed to 12 diverse well-characterized positive and negative developmental toxicants were isolated 24 h after the onset of exposure. Inhibition of ESC differentiation was evaluated in parallel by morphological scoring on culture day 10. Transcriptomics analysis was conducted using the Affymetrix Gene Chips platform. We applied principal component analysis on the basis of the two predefined gene sets to define the "differentiation track" that represents ESC differentiation. The significance of derivations in the gene expression-based differentiation track because of compound exposures were evaluated to determine developmental toxicity of tested compounds. We successfully predicted developmental toxicity using transcriptomics for 83% (10/12) and 67% (8/12) of the compounds, respectively, using the two predefined gene sets ("Van_Dartel_heartdiff_24h" and "EST biomarker genes"). Our study suggests that the application of transcriptomics may improve the applicability of the EST for the prediction of the developmental toxicity of chemicals.
    Original languageUndefined/Unknown
    Pages (from-to)126-134
    Number of pages9
    JournalToxicological Sciences
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2011

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