Physiologically Based Pharmacokinetic (PBPK) Model Predictions of Disease Mediated Changes in Drug Disposition in Patients with Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD)

Publication: Pharm Res
Software: GastroPlus®


This study was designed to verify a virtual population representing patients with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) to support the implementation of a physiologically based pharmacokinetic (PBPK) modeling approach for prediction of disease-related changes in drug pharmacokinetics.

A virtual NAFLD patient population was developed in GastroPlus (v.9.8.2) by accounting for pathophysiological changes associated with the disease and proteomics-informed alterations in the abundance of metabolizing enzymes and transporters pertinent to drug disposition. The NAFLD population model was verified using exemplar drugs where elimination is influenced predominantly by cytochrome P450 (CYP) enzymes (chlorzoxazone, caffeine, midazolam, pioglitazone) or by transporters (rosuvastatin, 11C-metformin, morphine and the glucuronide metabolite of morphine).

PBPK model predictions of plasma concentrations of all the selected drugs and hepatic radioactivity levels of 11C-metformin were consistent with the clinically-observed data. Importantly, the PBPK simulations using the virtual NAFLD population model provided reliable estimates of the extent of changes in key pharmacokinetic parameters for the exemplar drugs, with mean predicted ratios (NAFLD patients divided by healthy individuals) within 0.80- to 1.25-fold of the clinically-reported values, except for midazolam (prediction-fold difference of 0.72).

A virtual NAFLD population model within the PBPK framework was successfully developed with good predictive capability of estimating disease-related changes in drug pharmacokinetics. This supports the use of a PBPK modeling approach for prediction of the pharmacokinetics of new investigational or repurposed drugs in patients with NAFLD and may help inform dose adjustments for drugs commonly used to treat comorbidities in this patient population.

By Jeffry Adiwidjaja, Jessica Spires & Kim L. R. Brouwer