Pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic evaluation for tissue-selective inhibition of cholesterol synthesis by pravastatin

J Pharmacokinet Biopharm. 1998 Jun;26(3):329-47. doi: 10.1023/a:1023237510458.


The tissue-selective inhibition of cholesterol synthesis by pravastatin was evaluated pharmacokinetically and pharmacodynamically. Plasma, tissue, urine, and bile concentrations were measured after i.v. bolus injection of pravastatin to rats at various doses. The total body clearance and steady state volume of distribution decreased with increasing dose. A saturable biliary excretion was also observed. The time course of plasma and liver concentrations was described by a three-compartment model, consisting of a central compartment, a deep compartment with an nonsaturable uptake process, and a shallow compartment with saturable uptake and nonsaturable elimination processes. It suggests that a mechanism for the decrease in the total body clearance and distribution volume might be explained by a saturation of pravastatin uptake into the liver. Plasma concentration data after oral administration was also fitted to the same model by connecting an absorption compartment to the shallow compartment. The inhibitory activity of pravastatin against cholesterol synthesis in liver could be related to the concentration in the shallow compartment via a sigmoidal Emax model and the obtained pharmacodynamic parameters were comparable to those in vitro. Results suggest that the carrier-mediated hepatic uptake of pravastatin is actually responsible for the hepatoselective inhibition of cholesterol synthesis under physiological conditions.

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Animals
  • Anticholesteremic Agents / pharmacokinetics
  • Anticholesteremic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Cholesterol / biosynthesis*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Drug Evaluation, Preclinical
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / pharmacokinetics
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • Injections, Intravenous
  • Liver / drug effects
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Male
  • Nonlinear Dynamics
  • Organ Specificity
  • Pravastatin / pharmacokinetics
  • Pravastatin / pharmacology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar


  • Anticholesteremic Agents
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors
  • Cholesterol
  • Pravastatin