2017 Volume 42 Issue 4 Pages 427-436
Cholestasis is one of the major causes of drug-induced liver injury (DILI), which can result in withdrawal of approved drugs from the market. Early identification of cholestatic drugs is difficult due to the complex mechanisms involved. In order to develop a strategy for mechanism-based risk assessment of cholestatic drugs, we analyzed gene expression data obtained from the livers of rats that had been orally administered with 12 known cholestatic compounds repeatedly for 28 days at three dose levels. Qualitative analyses were performed using two statistical approaches (hierarchical clustering and principle component analysis), in addition to pathway analysis. The transcriptional benchmark dose (tBMD) and tBMD 95% lower limit (tBMDL) were used for quantitative analyses, which revealed three compound sub-groups that produced different types of differential gene expression; these groups of genes were mainly involved in inflammation, cholesterol biosynthesis, and oxidative stress. Furthermore, the tBMDL values for each test compound were in good agreement with the relevant no observed adverse effect level. These results indicate that our novel strategy for drug safety evaluation using mechanism-based classification and tBMDL would facilitate the application of toxicogenomics for risk assessment of cholestatic DILI.