A novel method for the determination of biliary clearance in humans

AAPS J. 2004 Nov 23;6(4):e33. doi: 10.1208/aapsj060433.


Biliary excretion is an important route of elimination and the biliary tract is a potential site of toxicity for many drugs and xenobiotics. Quantification of biliary excretion in healthy human volunteers is logistically challenging and is rarely defined during drug development. The current study uses a novel oroenteric tube coupled with a specialized clinical protocol to examine the pharmacokinetics of 99mTechnetium (Tc-99m) mebrofenin, a compound that undergoes rapid hepatic uptake and extensive biliary excretion. A custom-made multilumen oroenteric tube was positioned in the duodenum of healthy human volunteers. Subjects were positioned under a gamma camera and 2.5 mCi of Tc-99m mebrofenin was administered intravenously. Duodenal aspirates, blood samples, and urine were collected periodically for 3 hours. Two hours after Tc-99m mebrofenin administration, the gallbladder was contracted with an intravenous infusion of cholecystokinin-8. Gamma scintigraphy was used to determine the gallbladder ejection fraction in each subject. Total systemic clearance of Tc-99m mebrofenin approximated liver blood flow (Cl(total) 17.3 degrees 1.7 mL/min/kg), and 35% to 84% of the Tc-99m mebrofenin dose was recovered in bile. However, when the data were corrected for the gallbladder ejection fraction, 71% to 92% of the excreted Tc-99m mebrofenin dose was recovered. This novel oroenteric tube and clinical protocol provide a useful method to quantify biliary excretion of xenobiotics in healthy human volunteers.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bile / metabolism*
  • Catheterization / instrumentation
  • Catheterization / methods*
  • Female
  • Gallbladder / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Imino Acids / pharmacokinetics
  • Male
  • Organotechnetium Compounds / pharmacokinetics


  • Imino Acids
  • Organotechnetium Compounds
  • technetium Tc 99m mebrofenin