Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Abstract Among the cellular models used in in vitro renal pharmacotoxicology, isolated kidney tubules, used as suspensions mainly of proximal tubules, offer important advantages. They can be prepared in large amounts under nonsterile conditions within 1–2 h; thus, it is possible to employ a great number of experimental conditions simultaneously and to obtain rapidly many experimental results. Kidney tubules can be prepared from the kidney of many animal species and also from the human kidney; given the very limited availability of healthy human renal tissue, it is therefore possible to choose the most appropriate species for the study of a particular problem encountered in man. Kidney tubules can be used for screening and prevention of nephrotoxic effects and to identify their mechanisms as well as to study the renal metabolism of xenobiotics. When compared with cultured renal cell, a major advantage of kidney tubules is that they remain differentiated. The main limitations of the use of kidney tubules in pharmacotoxicology are (1) the necessity to prepare them as soon as the renal tissue sample is obtained; (2) their limited viability, which is restricted to 2–3 h; (3) the inability to expose them chronically to a potential nephrotoxic drug; (4) the inability to study transepithelial transport; and (5) the uncertainty in the extrapolation to man of the results obtained using animal kidney tubules. These advantages and limitations of the use of human and animal kidney tubules in pharmacotoxicology are illustrated mainly by the results of experiments performed with valproate, an antiepileptic and moderately hyperammonemic agent. The fact that kidney tubules, unlike cultured renal cells, retain key metabolic properties is also shown to be of the utmost importance in detecting certain nephrotoxic effects.
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