Combination of a biopharmaceutic classification system and physiologically based pharmacokinetic models to predict absorption properties of baicalein in vitro and in vivo

Publication: Journal of Traditional Chinese Medical Sciences



To determine the in vitro and in vivo absorption properties of active ingredients of the Chinese medicine, baicalein, to enrich mechanistic understanding of oral drug absorption.


The Biopharmaceutic Classification System (BCS) category was determined using equilibrium solubility, intrinsic dissolution rate, and intestinal permeability to evaluate intestinal absorption mechanisms of baicalein in rats in vitro. Physiologically based pharmacokinetic (PBPK) model commercial software GastroPlus™ was used to predict oral absorption of baicalein in vivo.


Based on equilibrium solubility, intrinsic dissolution rate, and permeability values of main absorptive segments in the duodenum, jejunum, and ileum, baicalein was classified as a drug with low solubility and high permeability. Intestinal perfusion with venous sampling (IPVS) revealed that baicalein was extensively metabolized in the body, which corresponded to the low bioavailability predicted by the PBPK model. Further, the PBPK model predicted the key indicators of BCS, leading to reclassification as BCS-II. Predicted values of peak plasma concentration of the drug (Cmax) and area under the curve (AUC) fell within two times of the error of the measured results, highlighting the superior prediction of absorption of baicalein in rats, beagles, and humans. The PBPK model supported in vitro and in vivo evidence and provided excellent prediction for this BCS class II drug.


BCS and PBPK are complementary methods that enable comprehensive research of BCS parameters, intestinal absorption rate, metabolism, prediction of human absorption fraction and bioavailability, simulation of PK, and drug absorption in various intestinal segments across species. This combined approach may facilitate a more comprehensive and accurate analysis of the absorption characteristics of active ingredients of Chinese medicine from in vitro and in vivo perspectives.

By Yang Liu, Jing Sun, Linying Zhong, Yu Li, A Na Er, Tong Li, Le Yang, Ling Dong