We investigated a potential use of a 3D tetraculture brain microphysiological system (BMPS) for neurotoxic chemical agent screening. This platform consists of neuronal tissue with extracellular matrix (ECM)-embedded neuroblastoma cells, microglia, and astrocytes, and vascular tissue with dynamic flow and membrane-free culture of the endothelial layer. We tested the broader applicability of this model, focusing on organophosphates (OPs) Malathion (MT), Parathion (PT), and Chlorpyrifos (CPF), and chemicals that interact with GABA and/or opioid receptor systems, including Muscimol (MUS), Dextromethorphan (DXM), and Ethanol (EtOH). We validated the BMPS platform by measuring the neurotoxic effects on barrier integrity, acetylcholinesterase (AChE) inhibition, viability, and residual OP concentration. The results show that OPs penetrated the model blood brain barrier (BBB) and inhibited AChE activity. DXM, MUS, and EtOH also penetrated the BBB and induced moderate toxicity. The results correlate well with available in vivo data. In addition, simulation results from an in silico physiologically-based pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic (PBPK/PD) model that we generated show good agreement with in vivo and in vitro data. In conclusion, this paper demonstrates the potential utility of a membrane-free tetraculture BMPS that can recapitulate brain complexity as a cost-effective alternative to animal models.
Three-dimensional (3D) brain microphysiological system for organophosphates and neurochemical agent toxicity screening