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In Scientific reports ; h5-index 158.0

To provide a comprehensive analysis of small molecule genotoxic potential we have developed and validated an automated, high-content, high throughput, image-based in vitro Micronucleus (IVM) assay. This assay simultaneously assesses micronuclei and multiple additional cellular markers associated with genotoxicity. Acoustic dosing (≤ 2 mg) of compound is followed by a 24-h treatment and a 24-h recovery period. Confocal images are captured [Cell Voyager CV7000 (Yokogawa, Japan)] and analysed using Columbus software (PerkinElmer). As standard the assay detects micronuclei (MN), cytotoxicity and cell-cycle profiles from Hoechst phenotypes. Mode of action information is primarily determined by kinetochore labelling in MN (aneugencity) and γH2AX foci analysis (a marker of DNA damage). Applying computational approaches and implementing machine learning models alongside Bayesian classifiers allows the identification of, with 95% accuracy, the aneugenic, clastogenic and negative compounds within the data set (Matthews correlation coefficient: 0.9), reducing analysis time by 80% whilst concurrently minimising human bias. Combining high throughput screening, multiparametric image analysis and machine learning approaches has provided the opportunity to revolutionise early Genetic Toxicology assessment within AstraZeneca. By multiplexing assay endpoints and minimising data generation and analysis time this assay enables complex genotoxicity safety assessments to be made sooner aiding the development of safer drug candidates.

Wilson Amy, Grabowski Piotr, Elloway Joanne, Ling Stephanie, Stott Jonathan, Doherty Ann

2021-Jan-28