Species difference in drug metabolism and drug toxicity is a well-established phenomenon. As a result, the
classical paradigm of preclinical testing of drug candidates in animals may not be appropriate. One preclinical approach to
evaluate human drug properties, especially ADMET (absorption, disposition, metabolism, elimination, and toxicity) properties,
is to apply in vitro experimental systems with relevant human properties. The latest advances include the use of
human hepatocytes to evaluate hepatic uptake, metabolism, efflux and toxicity. Successful cryopreservation of human hepatocytes
to retain high viability, metabolic capacity, as well as the ability to be cultured allow routine application of this
relevant experimental system. This review summarizes the latest findings on human hepatocytes isolation, cryopreservation,
culturing, as well as application in the evaluation of metabolic stability, metabolite profiling, hepatic uptake and efflux,
metabolic drug-drug interactions, and drug toxicity. The use of hepatocyte to evaluate the role of metabolism in drug
toxicity represents a major advance in drug toxicity evaluation. The use of the novel integrated discrete multiple organ coculture
(IdMOC) system allows the evaluation of the role of hepatic metabolism on nonhepatic toxicity.
Keywords: Cryopreserved hepatocytes, drug development, drug discovery, drug-drug interactions, drug metabolism, drug toxicity,
human hepatocytes, in vitro assays, IdMOC.
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