Development and application of the physiologically-based toxicokinetic (PBTK) model for ochratoxin A (OTA) in rats and humans

Publication: Ecotoxicol Environ Saf
Software: GastroPlus®


Ochratoxin A (OTA) is a common fungal toxin frequently detected in food and human plasma samples. Currently, the physiologically based toxicokinetic (PBTK) model plays an active role in dose translation and can improve and enhance the risk assessment of toxins. In this study, the PBTK model of OTA in rats and humans was established based on knowledge of OTA-specific absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion (ADME) in order to better explain the disposition of OTA in humans and the discrepancies with other species. The models were calibrated and optimized using the available kinetic and toxicokinetic (TK) data, and independent test datasets were used for model evaluation. Subsequently, sensitivity analyses and population simulations were performed to characterize the extent to which variations in physiological and specific chemical parameters affected the model output. Finally, the constructed models were used for dose extrapolation of OTA, including the rat-to-human dose adjustment factor (DAF) and the human exposure conversion factor (ECF). The results showed that the unbound fraction (Fup) of OTA in plasma of rat and human was 0.02–0.04% and 0.13–4.21%, respectively. In vitro experiments, the maximum enzyme velocity (Vmax) and Michaelis–Menten constant (Km) of OTA in rat and human liver microsomes were 3.86 and 78.17 μg/g min−1, 0.46 and 4.108 μg/mL, respectively. The predicted results of the model were in good agreement with the observed data, and the models in rats and humans were verified. The PBTK model derived a DAF of 0.1081 between rats and humans, whereas the ECF was 2.03. The established PBTK model can be used to estimate short- or long-term OTA exposure levels in rats and humans, with the capacity for dose translation of OTA to provide the underlying data for risk assessment of OTA.