Physiologically based pharmacokinetic model combined with reverse dose method to study the nephrotoxic tolerance dose of tacrolimus

Publication: Arch Toxicol
Software: GastroPlus®


Nephrotoxicity is the most common side effect that severely limits the clinical application of tacrolimus (TAC), an immunosuppressive agent used in kidney transplant patients. This study aimed to explore the tolerated dose of nephrotoxicity of TAC in individuals with different CYP3A5 genotypes and liver conditions. We established a human whole-body physiological pharmacokinetic (WB-PBPK) model and validated it using data from previous clinical studies. Following the injection of 1 mg/kg TAC into the tail veins of male rats, we developed a rat PBPK model utilizing the drug concentration–time curve obtained by LC–MS/MS. Next, we converted the established rat PBPK model into the human kidney PBPK model. To establish renal concentrations, the BMCL5 of the in vitro CCK-8 toxicity response curve (drug concentration range: 2–80 mol/L) was extrapolated. To further investigate the acceptable levels of nephrotoxicity for several distinct CYP3A5 genotypes and varied hepatic function populations, oral dosing regimens were extrapolated utilizing in vitro-in vivo extrapolation (IVIVE). The PBPK model indicated the tolerated doses of nephrotoxicity were 0.14–0.185 mg/kg (CYP3A5 expressors) and 0.13–0.155 mg/kg (CYP3A5 non-expressors) in normal healthy subjects and 0.07–0.09 mg/kg (CYP3A5 expressors) and 0.06–0.08 mg/kg (CYP3A5 non-expressors) in patients with mild hepatic insufficiency. Further, patients with moderate hepatic insufficiency tolerated doses of 0.045–0.06 mg/kg (CYP3A5 expressors) and 0.04–0.05 mg/kg (CYP3A5 non-expressors), while in patients with moderate hepatic insufficiency, doses of 0.028–0.04 mg/kg (CYP3A5 expressors) and 0.022–0.03 mg/kg (CYP3A5 non-expressors) were tolerated. Overall, our study highlights the combined usage of the PBPK model and the IVIVE approach as a valuable tool for predicting toxicity tolerated doses of a drug in a specific group.

By Limin Cai, Meng Ke, Han Wang, Wanhong Wu, Rongfang Lin, Pinfang Huang & Cuihong Lin