Evaluation of dose-related pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of prednisolone in man

J Pharmacokinet Biopharm. 1992 Dec;20(6):567-89. doi: 10.1007/BF01064420.


The pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of prednisolone were evaluated in normal male volunteers. Seven subjects completed 3 phases: 16.4- and 49.2-mg iv prednisolone, and a phase with no drug to assess baseline responses. Plasma concentrations of prednisolone and urine concentrations of prednisolone and 5 metabolites were assayed by HPLC. Protein binding of prednisolone was measured by ultrafiltration. The polyexponential disposition of free and total plasma prednisolone were evaluated and apparent parameters were compared between doses. Suppression of plasma cortisol and alterations in blood basophil and helper-T cell trafficking were used as pharmacodynamic indices. Pharmacodynamic models were used to relate total or free plasma prednisolone concentrations to each of these effects generating response parameters and IC50 (50% inhibitory) concentrations common to both doses. The pharmacokinetics of total drug were comparable to previous findings with CL and Vss increasing with dose. Free prednisolone exhibited slight capacity-limited elimination and distribution as CL and Vss decreased with the larger dose. Pharmacodynamic models jointly fitting all three phases characterized the suppression/trafficking phenomena equally well with use of total or free drug concentrations. In each case the models provided realistic values of parameters relating to steroid sensitivity--in particular IC50--and to the underlying physiology of the affected systems. This study comprehensively elucidates the complexities of prednisolone pharmacokinetics and demonstrates how plasma concentration--time profiles of total or free prednisolone can be utilized for evaluation of prednisolone pharmacodynamics.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Basophils / drug effects
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Humans
  • Hydrocortisone / blood
  • Male
  • Models, Biological
  • Prednisolone / administration & dosage
  • Prednisolone / pharmacokinetics*
  • Prednisolone / pharmacology
  • Protein Binding
  • T-Lymphocytes, Helper-Inducer / drug effects


  • Prednisolone
  • Hydrocortisone