Use of precision-cut liver slices as an in vitro tool for evaluating liver function

A. Jay Gandolfi, Jayanthika Wijeweera, Klaus Brendel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Precision cut liver slices have been developed as an in vitro tool for assessing liver viability and function and for examining hepatotoxicants. Liver slices from a variety of species (including human) are prepared using mechanical slicers that produce reproducible slices of a uniform thickness, which allows optimum exchange of nutrients, waste, and gases. Slices are incubated in dynamic systems that allow the slices to be maintained viable in culture for 1-10 days. The viability of slices can be assessed by ion content (K+, Na+, ATPase status), intermediary metabolism, energy status (ATP), respiration, biosynthetic ability, and biotransformation activity. In addition, liver tissue slices allow the opportunity for extensive microscopic evaluation (light and electron) as well as newer technologies such as confocal microscopy. Assessment of the toxic potential of a chemical can be performed after a short term or constant exposure by evaluating the viability parameters. Liver slices have been used extensively for rank ordering the toxicity of chemicals as well as for examining the mechanisms of liver injury. Liver slices in culture also can be used for an examination of the induction of new enzymes such as cytochrome P-450 and the expression of stress proteins or peroxisomal enzymes. Finally, liver slices offer a system for evaluating whole or cryopreserved liver as well as regeneration of liver tissue after toxic insult. Liver slices have been shown to be a valid in vitro system for examining liver function and offer a bridge between in vivo and cell culture systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)58-61
Number of pages4
JournalToxicologic pathology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1996


  • Biotransformation
  • culture, slices
  • in vitro toxicology
  • slice incubation
  • slicers
  • stress proteins
  • viability, slices

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Toxicology
  • Cell Biology


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