Sumary of Toxicity testing on the placenta and embryo:
- Therefore, at an early stage in the development of new medicines, candidate substances are tested in the Petri dish on embryonic stem cells from mouse cell lines.
- Researchers just add the test material to a culture of embryonic stem cells in a Petri dish, and can identify substances that have a direct adverse effect on embryonic cells.
- To do so, Julia Boos, a doctoral student in the group of ETH Professor Andreas Hierlemann, and her colleagues developed a new chip.
- On this chip, the scientists combined human placental cells taken from cell lines with microtissue spheroids derived from mouse embryonic stem cell lines, known as “embryoid bodies,” which reflect the early development of the embryo.
- Test substances first encounter a layer of placental cells, which they have to pass before reaching the embryonic cells, thereby reproducing the situation in utero.
- The embryonic cells from cell lines only undergo the very first steps of embryonal development over a period of ten days.
- With the new test, which also includes placental cells, however, the scientists observed a potential indirect adverse effect.
- Although the placental cells managed to hold the microparticles back, meaning the particles did not get through to the embryonic cells, the placental cells showed a detectable stress response.