Exploring BSEP inhibition-mediated toxicity with a mechanistic model of drug-induced liver injury

Publication: Front Pharmacol
Software: DILIsym®
Division: DILIsym Services


Inhibition of the bile salt export pump (BSEP) has been linked to incidence of drug-induced liver injury (DILI), presumably by the accumulation of toxic bile acids in the liver. We have previously constructed and validated a model of bile acid disposition within DILIsym®, a mechanistic model of DILI. In this paper, we use DILIsym® to simulate the DILI response of the hepatotoxic BSEP inhibitors bosentan and CP-724,714 and the non-hepatotoxic BSEP inhibitor telmisartan in humans in order to explore whether we can predict that hepatotoxic BSEP inhibitors can cause bile acid accumulation to reach toxic levels. We also simulate bosentan in rats in order to illuminate potential reasons behind the lack of toxicity in rats compared to the toxicity observed in humans. DILIsym® predicts that bosentan, but not telmisartan, will cause mild hepatocellular ATP decline and serum ALT elevation in a simulated population of humans. The difference in hepatotoxic potential between bosentan and telmisartan is consistent with clinical observations. However, DILIsym® underpredicts the incidence of bosentan toxicity. DILIsym® also predicts that bosentan will not cause toxicity in a simulated population of rats, and that the difference between the response to bosentan in rats and in humans is primarily due to the less toxic bile acid pool in rats. Our simulations also suggest a potential synergistic role for bile acid accumulation and mitochondrial electron transport chain (ETC) inhibition in producing the observed toxicity in CP-724,714, and suggest that CP-724,714 metabolites may also play a role in the observed toxicity. Our work also compares the impact of competitive and noncompetitive BSEP inhibition for CP-724,714 and demonstrates that noncompetitive inhibition leads to much greater bile acid accumulation and potential toxicity. Our research demonstrates the potential for mechanistic modeling to contribute to the understanding of how bile acid transport inhibitors cause DILI.

By Jeffrey L Woodhead, Kyunghee Yang, Scott Q Siler, Paul B Watkins, Brett A Howell