Ongoing | January 2024

Multidimensional models for in vitro screening of endocrine disrupting agents


Endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) are substances, both natural and human-made, present in everyday items like plastics, detergents, food, and cosmetics. These chemicals can adversely affect the health and development of both animals and humans. EDCs have been associated with disruptions in the endocrine system, contributing to conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, early puberty, infertility, and various cancers. Our project aims to create and analyze 2D/3D in vitro models of the adrenal and pancreas. These models will reflect in this context highly relevant signaling networks of these organs, allowing us to identify chemicals acting as EDCs. We employ human cell lines and bovinerest-tissues obtained from the slaughterhouse, repurposing the latter from waste instead for implementation in scientific read-outs. In the 3D aspect, we employ a high-throughput platform capable of forming over 9000 spheroids/organoids in a single plate. While current EDC research often relies on animal models, especially rodents, our in vitro models of the adrenal and pancreas offer a superior alternative. These models have the potential to accurately capture complexities of the respective organs without the need for animal testing, providing a more ethical and efficient approach to studying the impact of EDCs in a high-throughput manner.

Dr. Constanze Hantel & Team, University Hospital Zurich